David Bowie’s fascination with the songs of Jacques Brel led him to cover a number of Brel songs, as well as influenced his musical and performance choices.
Here’s Volume Two in my series of English language Jacques Brel covers!
Below is my poetic translation of ‘Litanies Pour Un Retour’ by Jacques Brel. Particular attention has been paid to keeping the rhyme and flow of the piece while retaining the poetic origins of the French lyric.
Two years after Brel’s fourth album, which was a striking collection of juxtaposed pieces including the hits ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ and ‘La Valse A Mille Temps’, Brel released No. 5.
While working towards my ambition of translating the music of Jacques Brel, I began recording in an attempt to update Brel’s music for a modern, English-speaking audience…
Brel’s fourth ‘album’, often referred to as “La Valse A Mille Temps”, was released in 1959. It was Brel’s first album to be released after a legendary performance at the Olympia in Paris which brought Brel much critical acclaim.
Here are my highly subjective thoughts about Brel’s best (and worst) albums! To rank the albums, each track was scored out of 5, and then the total score was divided by the amount of tracks on the album, and a point was taken or added depending on the album’s overall consistency.
When you’re a big fan of two of the most influential artists of the 20th century (and perhaps all time?) you start reading too much into their similarities…
In Brel’s first releases, we see a pattern emerging – and the songs on this EP form the blueprints of many themes that emerge throughout Brel’s career, in particular “Grand Jacques” and “Le Diable (Ca Va)”.