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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Olympia 64

Jacques Brel

1964

Olympia 64
Album Summary

Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964 is Jacques Brel's second live album. The original 25 cm LP version only contained track 1-8. Also known as Olympia 64, the album was reissued with a total of 15 chansons in 1988 as part of CD Box "Integrale", and on 23 September 2003 under the title Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay (980 817-1). The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.On the double CD "Olympia 1964-1966" issued in 2016 (Barclay no. 4774913), a different track sequence is provided, "more closely resembling the original sequence as performed by Brel", with "Amsterdam" als third chanson.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.8

Votes

11147

Genres

  • Pop
  • Rock

Reviews

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Wed Jan 19 2022
5

Being a native French speaker, I've always been aware of the cultural importance of Jacques Brel, even though as a young and hip amateur of mostly *anglo-saxon* music, I was merely relegating him to a singer for older generations, someone who did not have anything relevant to teach the careless youngster that I was. But now that I've gotten older myself, comfortably lying on the couch of my cozy living-room as I'm writing this feature on my phone, I might obviously know a little better. The question is: why did I *really* change my mind about Jacques Brel? Is it because of my current, somewhat comfortable surroundings that I can fully appreciate *chansons* now? Have I turned into an unapolegetic *bourgeois* in the space of only two decades? Or is all of that irrelevant? If it's because I've turned into a *bourgeois*, the irony is priceless here. Indeed, Brel's wit, sharp eye and acerbic tongue were almost never better channeled than when he used those assets to paint vitriolic portraits of the elder generations of his own time--all those sad, well-off, self-righteous sods never able to admit they cornered themselves into lives ultimately devoid of any meaning. Truth be told, in Brel's songs are *also* other sorts of lessons, though, and ones I could have started learning as a young man. When the Belgian singer depicts younger characters, for instance, his powers of observation are still very much on point, both conveying the humanity and pathetic shortcomings of those characters through the same jeering-yet-elegant wink to his audience. Flawed dunces and endearing dollards can be found in all age groups. And Brel never missed a chance to remind us of this. Of course, there's a third, more elegiac streak running throughout his catalogue of tunes, which gave out all those signature songs most French speakers still remember today. And for those, Brel was as 'emo' as any tortured young rock act can get. Just listen to those tracks. Even if you're not speaking French, you might still sense the emotion seeping through the perfomance itself, if not through the words used (the man was also a fine actor who had learned this secondary trade exclusively through his experience as a performer giving it all onstage). If anything, English-speaking artists with a keen eye for details and an overall flair for the dramatic--artists such as Scott Walker, Nina Simone, David Bowie, Judy Collins or Nick Cave--certainly sensed this emotion we've just mentioned here. Hence their wonderful covers of Brel's *repertoire*. Recorded live in 1964 at the legendary Parisian venue *L'Olympia*, this record, as short as its original version was, does a very fine job displaying the three different streaks of songcraft we've spotted up there. Subsequent CD versions later included parts of the show left out from the original 30-minute album, with Brel staples such as "Les bonbons", "Mathilde", " Les bigotes", "Les bourgeois", "Jef" and "Au suivant". But even without those popular extraneous cuts, this live album is essentially Jacques Brel at his best. "Les vieux" (*Old Folks*), about old-timers waiting for death, is for example one of his cruellest songs, because as heartwrenching and detailed as the lyrics are, they can also elicit many mocking snarls in response. Dark comedy and tragedy go hand in hand throughout the tune, whose chorus revolves about a clock relentlessly counting the seconds left before the final demise, nicely supported by a piano motif insisting on each of those fateful seconds. Musicality is rarely forgotten in Brel's *oeuvre*, as shown in most of those cuts here, even though such oeuvre is first and foremost narrative-driven in nature. Death is also central in two other songs, "Le dernier repas" and "Tango funèbre". The first track pictures the narrator's "last meal" with his entourage, the second depicts his burial, and both are unforgettable lessons in songwriting, ones that Nick Cave, as a connoisseur of Brel's body of work, probably remembered when he penned the similarly-themed "Lay Me Low" for *Let Love In*.  Freeloaders and sycophants shedding crocodile tears unavoidably find their way into the afflicted crowd in those songs, closely watched by Brel's ghost. This makes the titular 'tango' in the second track, already a wonderful piece of music, even more gripping, chilling and wry. Old parasites in funerals aside, younger people are also mocked during the gig, as in "Les Timides" (*Shy people*), where inapt wannabe lovers make fools of themselves under Brel's unforgiving eye ("they just blush and *crawfish*", the singer tells us--yes, "crawfish" is used as a verb here, which is just as grammatically wrong or off-kilter in French as it is in English). And both age groups seem to be derided in "Les jardins du casino" ("In The Casino's Gardens"), a precise study of bourgeois pettiness that goes from micro to macro in its ironic breadth. As great as those tracks are, however, this live album wouldn't be the historical document it is today without two songs counting among the most famous Brel ever penned whenever he decided to dive headlong into full epic scope. The first of those songs, "Amsterdam", was actually never recorded in a studio, so what we have here is the definitive version, and it does not take a seer to understand why this sweeping tale of sailors and whores rubbing shoulders (and more) in the midst of a drunken, lascivious haze didn't need a studio recording after this live capture at the Olympia venue. Brel's voice is incredible here, each and every one of its inflexions adding weight and meaning to the words sung or yelled. And the orchestra supporting that voice is the *coup de grâce*, its head-spinning instrumentation placing you right in the middle of this grotesque waltz of beautiful losers. You can almost see the lights and lanterns of the harbour behind the dancers. In three minutes, you've been to the Netherlands and back, and it's a trip you will never forget. As for the second legendary track, "Le plat pays" (*The Flat Country*), a very personal ode to Belgium--slow, grim and yet quite tender--there *is* a studio version of it, contrary to "Amsterdam". But this live rendition, backed up by strings circling above the desolate land like so many flocks of crows, equals it, if it doesn't actually surpass any other version available today. *Olympia 64* is therefore one of the best entry points into Brel's whole body of work, and as such, deserves to be remembered as the timeless classic that it is. One could argue that studio albums *Ces gens-là*, *N*4 (La valse à mille temps)* or the later rerecording of old songs *Ne me quitte pas* could be equally relevant if you wish to get acquainted with the inspired and inspiring Belgian singer. Either those, or any of the comprehensive compilations sold out there. But if first, you want to sense the powerhouse that Brel was as a live performer, *this* is the record to start with. It is by no means a rock 'n roll album. Actually, it's almost the opposite in every way. But for anyone interested in the French language, or international novelty curios, the emotions such a record provides are not so far off the mark compared to more "modern" strands of music. Ask David Bowie, Nick Cave or Nina Simone if you're still having doubts about the whole thing. [Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 993 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 2 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 4 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (as I think many others are more important): 3 ]

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Wed Mar 03 2021
2

It’s ok, but could’ve died without listening

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Mon Jun 28 2021
3

It's hard to judge this without understanding the nuances of the language, since he's known for his wit and turn-of-phrase. When Scott Walker covered Jackie, you got a sense of how great a lyricist Brel was.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
1

Struggled to listen from start to finish. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this when I listened to it, but honestly I really question to inclusion of an album like this on this list. I suspect some hipster was feeling very please with themselves when they put forward this one.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

boy, he really MEANT IT when he sang, huh? i love how crazy this sounds now - i wonder if it did then, too.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
3

Never heard of him before (though I guess I’ve probably heard his songs without knowing who it was). Had a bit of a French Leonard Cohen vibe going at points. I felt a bit like I was starring in a Wes Anderson film while I was listening to this. I liked the feeling.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
3

Brel is an incredibly influential French chanson singers who has covers by a variety of English speaking speakers you may know, including Bowie. I feel this album was picked primarily because of Amsterdam, a masterful work of emotion and passion about life in the city. Do not take that track lightly. You can however take the rest of the tracks lightly. They demonstrate Brel's talent and songwriting, but none of the rest are his best work, but it does get comically French like that 3rd track so it is entertaining at times. Obviously this album doesn't hold very well to today with audiences (or even a decade later), and you need a certain perspective to appreciate, which I don't care to have.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
2

I am not sure why I needed to listen to this. No need to listen to but thankfully it was a short album.

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Sat Sep 23 2023
2

It's hard to appreciate explicitly lyric-driven music in a language you don't speak.

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Tue Jul 04 2023
1

Woof. This inclusion seems almost accidental. It's a live album of a guy singing in French over show-tuney type stuff, in the same vein as the infamous Scott Walker 2. I'm not sure what is supposed to be remarkable here, and neither is Wikipedia. Usually I accept all foreign language projects with grace, but that's because at least they are musically interesting. We did have at least one French album with that Serge Gainsbourg project, but that was obviously important. This one? Yeah I don't know. Give this slot to someone more deserving. Favorite tracks: Le Plat Pays. Album art: A guy harumphing into his hand, looking worried, perhaps about some guy from the future who wouldn't understand why he MUST listen to this live album before he dies. Not even Jacques seems to think this is special. 1.5/5

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

I have always held a number of Jacques Brel's songs close to my heart, but I had never heard much more of his work, nor heard him singing to a live audience. The combination of his voice, his emotion, and his poetry is absolutely captivating. It isn't a surprise that there have been so many attempts to translate his work, but as he is such a master of the sounds of the French language, there will always be something missing in translation. Each song carries me away and paints such a vivid picture. How I wish I'd been at the Olympia then!

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Wed Dec 13 2023
5

I wanted so much more shit like this on this list. Way too much British/american punk rock. 5

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Amsterdam is a banger of a track, this guy has a very powerful voice and I'm here for it, I think I may actually listen to it again sometime?

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Fri Jun 18 2021
4

I liked this a lot more than expected.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
3

I have readily accepted music with vocals in languages other than English although this was typically due to the beats / global rhythms. Of those that didn’t have the beats, hardly any were in French. One exception is Edith Pilaf's La Vie En Rose which I quite liked. I never did seek out other French songs that I might have liked as much and perhaps it's my loss. This album isn't at Edith's level but some of the songs are very powerful and full of emotion. I do hope he's not singing about Bugs Bunny episodes but I don't have a clue and I'm not going to check. Just in case the songs are about the Wascally Wabbit, I better not rank too high.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

I've not seen any of Jacques Brel's movies but based on his music, I am guessing he's an extraordinary actor. I don't speak French well enough to know what he's saying most of the time but I sure as hell know what he's feeling. Very few artists get under my skin the way he does.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Great voice! Even understood a bit with my French. Very fun

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Fri Mar 12 2021
4

I'm surprised how long I have been listening to this record.

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Thu Oct 21 2021
4

I think it was nice. You could tell he really meant the words he said. Had to look up the lyrics to understand the songs. It was more simple than most of the albums.

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Sun Aug 20 2023
4

Once I read someone likening listening to Jacques Brel without speaking french to listening to Morrissey without speaking english. Be that as it may, Brel is still a joy to listen to even when you don’t understand him! Such spirited delivery. The backing music is consistent in matching the energy as well. The music transcends the language barrier. Besides, doesn’t Morrissey himself have a large Mexican fanbase?

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Fri Oct 13 2023
4

In the 60’s, all I knew about Brel was that he’d written Ne me quitte pas (If You Go Away), one of Dusty Springfield’s greatest. Then, sometime in 1973, I got a copy of Bowie’s hit single, Sorrow, and the b-side was Brel’s Amsterdam. Bowie’s version is absolutely outstanding. And Brel’s version here is the highlight of this album for me. Pretty closely followed by Les Bourgeois (which I first heard in the late 70’s by Tom Robinson, under the title Yuppie Scum) - and this is where you need a translation , because Brel wrote wonderful lyrics. Check out a translation for Les Bigotes - timely after NO voters sank the weekend’s referendum. Brel was a huge talent. Unique.

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Mon Mar 08 2021
3

Great vocal delivery. Chanson is lyrically driven, so unfortunately can’t judge it in its intended focus, but was nice to listen to musically and to put a term and a face to this music style of the 60s in France, Belgium and Europe.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
3

This is who Pepe le Péw thinks he is.

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Sun Oct 16 2022
3

Amsterdam is pretty great but I don't speak French so uhhhhhhhh

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Mon Jul 10 2023
3

OK, so this is the sort of thing I had kind of expected and also hoped for when signing up for this 1001 albums thing. Yesterday I had Limp Bizkit and today I have Jacques Brel. LOL This album definitely broadened my horizons just a little bit. I am familiar with this style but only in passing. It's the first time I've listened to several tunes of this era and style in a row. Brel is clearly connecting the cabaret with what would become early contemporary French music. Glad I listened to it? Yes. Need to listen to it more? Probably not, it was interesting precisely because I had limited prior exposure. Good selection for the 1001 though!

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Fri Nov 10 2023
3

What I listen to while my rat cooks me dinner

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Wed Nov 22 2023
3

My grandma is a huge fan of this man. I like it as well, but not as much as her.

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Fri May 07 2021
2

Este estilo de música francesa me gusta a veces, puede caer bien para ambientar, sin embargo no se me hace que sea para una lista como esta; incluso algunas de las canciones y los juegos que hace con la voz me parecen demasiado de cotorreo y que igual estando ahí pudo ser chistoso pero grabado no me parece tan impresionante. Además, plagió a Cri-Cri, eso no se hace.

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Sun Feb 05 2023
2

The most french thing since Jean Valjean, Emanuele Macron and René Artois sat atop La tour Eiffel eating an amuse bouche of escargots avec garlic et oignons. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: Les jardins du casino Date listened: 04/02/23

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

высокой красоты музыка, блистательное исполнение и шикарный треклист создают работу, которая, может, и не шедевральна, но недурно приблизилась к идеалу. Снижу оценку я лишь за короткий хронометраж и очень шумные аплодисменты. 9/10.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

First French album listened to. Was very surprised by the showmanship and general music

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Fri Feb 04 2022
5

Actually quite enjoyable. Have to say I wasn't looking forward to some French crooner but the style is so different to what you'd get in English that it's refreshing. Probably benefits for being a live album too.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Comment, en bon Belge, mettre autre chose que 5? (rip les amerloques qui comprennent rien dans l'onglet reviews) Prefs: Amsterdam, Le Dernier Repas, Les Toros, Tango Funèbre, Le Plat Pays, Les Bonbons, Mathilde, Les Bourgeois, Jef, Au Suivant, Madeleine Moins pref: Les Timides

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Thu Apr 14 2022
5

Very chill, feels like im on a terrace in Paris

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

Jacques mon copain, mon Belge. Un album incroyable. J'aime le plat pays/ mijn vlakke land (zeker beide versies beluisteren) hohoho Cette chanson me donne envie de sauter sur mon vélo et de rouler à la mer. Viva belgica 🇧🇪

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Wed Nov 09 2022
5

oui oui ah ah ah ah, ah aha ah

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Wed Feb 01 2023
5

Tres bien! Je peut entendre cette disque longtemps

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Wed Jun 07 2023
5

More of this please!! Perfection!

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Wed Jun 07 2023
5

Really dug this! So dramatic. He’s got an awesome voice and the songwriting is really cool.

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Wed Jun 07 2023
5

Jacques Brel- Olympia 64 Jacque Brel is cool. he’s got so much drama and passion in his voice. My favorite song of his is Ne me quitte pa. After listening to Kid A and Amnesiac recently I feel like it had a similar emotional effect as I get from a Radiohead ballad. The last song “Les Toros Avec Final “was awesome. 4?5?

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Tue Aug 01 2023
5

9/10. I've never heard a French person get so excited.

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Sat Aug 19 2023
5

Très bon album de classique chanté par un brel au sommet de son art 5

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Thu Aug 31 2023
5

Beautiful, don't understand a word, and could only find half the album, but it's beautiful

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Tue Sep 19 2023
5

l'olympia c'est un peu cheapos si vous voulez mon avis

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Wed Dec 06 2023
5

5 for cultural diversity on the list.

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Thu Dec 28 2023
5

A correspondent on these pages described Brel as a French Leonard Cohen which is wrong on two accounts - first of all, Brel is Belgian; and, if anything, Cohen is the Canadian Jacques Brel! Brel had an unmatched song writing skill, able to not only write acerbic songs satirising society but also tender, romantic and moving songs about lost loves and lost friends; haunting songs about death and funerals; and, of course, songs about soldiers losing their virginity in a mobile army whore house. In rating this album, I admit that I am swayed by Brel's entire catalogue. Olympia 64 does a good job of capturing a moment in time (and you can hear the crowd go wild for the music) but it is an unsatisfying album as so many tracks were recorded but not cut (restored on later versions) and some of his greatest songs aren't here. A fine artist whose works will endure and continue to inspire future songwriters, just as he inspired Scott Walker and David Bowie.

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Tue Jan 02 2024
5

Has to be a five. Brel is a top ten artist for me, love him :)

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Mon Jan 15 2024
5

One of the main reasons I want to learn French is Jacques Brel. How he minds each phoneme, the passion for each phrase, and the charisma spilled all over each song testifies to his authenticity. It is contagious and charming. Jacques is one of those big European icons from the twentieth century that were poorly known in America. Victims of the self-absorption happening in the USA during the Cold War. Lucky us that we have ways to dig into the past and get to know those left at the margin. Great album, unmatched artist.

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Wed Feb 14 2024
5

Jaja, rustig maar, ik ga precies het cijfer geven dat jullie verwachten. Wie ik veel op Jacques Brel vind lijken is Stromae: ook uit Brussel, grijpt hij op de muziek van zijn tijd nietsontziend de grote thema's aan. Maar Brel is toch een klasse apart. Op dit album Olympia '64 hoor je hoe hij alles geeft tijdens zijn optredens. Brel zingt vaakt niet, eigenlijk schreeuwt hij. Het gaat over dood, liefde, hypocrisie, oorlog, alles. Een paar van zijn grootste nummers staan op deze plaat. Amsterdam, welbekend voor fans van Acda en De Munnik, Brel nam er nooit een studioversie van op. Le plat pays, door Brel zelf in het Nederlands gezongen in een vertaling die beter is dan het origineel (Mijn vlakke land). Les bourgeois (De burgerij), Jef, Madeleine, Les vieux, Au suivant, allemaal klassiekers (waarvan allemaal goede vertalingen bestaan). Op verzoek vertel ik nog wel waar het allemaal over gaat. Want dat is natuurlijk meteen het manco van Brel: als je het niet verstaat, hoor je alleen maar een man die zich ontzettend druk staat te maken op vrij ouderwetse muziek (een tango, een wals). Oud werd hij niet: op 49-jarige leeftijd blies hij de laatste adem uit. Zichzelf kapotgeleefd.

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Thu Feb 22 2024
5

Great chansons sung with much vigor.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
5

Incredible! This is the type of album I hoped to be introduced to through this. I don’t know what he’s saying and I don’t want to. It’s beautiful, exotic, interesting. Loved it. Saved it to my library.

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Wed Apr 03 2024
5

Nice. Always loved Amsterdam (and Ne me quitte pas), goosebump stuff, and I quite enjoyed the vibe of all of this. And as the 1001AYMHBYD list is so hilariously shit at acknowledging the existence of the non-English-speaking 95 percent of the world and its music, this is an automatic +1, makes 𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘲 é𝘵𝘰𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘴. And no, I do not understand what Brel is singing. You don't have to, you know?

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Thu Apr 04 2024
5

banger after banger, love this guy

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Fri May 31 2024
5

9/10 absolutely beautiful I love quirky french shit

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Fri May 07 2021
4

4.5 | De él conocía muy bien la canción de Amsterdam y Ne Me Quitte Pas (que desafortunadamente no venía en este disco) pero nunca me había puesto conscientemente a buscar más de su música. No entiendo por qué porque es del tipo de música que ya se que me gusta mucho; toda la idea de justamente lo que podemos llamar música folk moderna en su verdadera expresión, sin tomar en cuenta las fusiones que se habían hecho con rock y otras situaciones, aquí está un disco que canta canciones en ritmos, estilos y progresiones que se hacían casi iguales 100 años atrás. Esa gracia del chanson, creado específicamente para ser escuchado en francés, con el fraseo y la cadencia específica del lenguaje, son situaciones y estilos que se han perdido tristemente. En mi caso es música que jamás me cae mal y son compositores que en muchos casos tuvieron una influencia titánica sobre música que se escucha más "moderna". Fuera de decir que me encantó el disco no hay mucho más que añadir, así que solo usare este espacio para también recomendar que si a alguien le gustó este estilo y tuvieran la curiosidad de escuchar algo similar pueden buscar a Vladimir Vysotsky, que en mi opinión es una leyenda enorme muy poco apreciada y que todos debieran conocer, como en este caso de Brel es música que te llega aun hasta antes de que busques que significa la letra.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

I really liked the vocals and overall atmosphere this album creates. It’s very impressive

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

Quite a nice, fun album, but slightly disappointing. After the first song Amsterdam, I was hoping most of the songs would share this same energy, but many ended up being piano ballads instead. I still enjoyed these songs, but they didn't quite have the same punch of Amsterdam. Overall, it's definitely worth a listen, though. 7/10

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Sun Feb 06 2022
4

No fucking clue what he's singing about, which is a good thing as I didn't get distracted by the lyrics. Technically impressive for a live album too.

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

Wow this takes me back to sitting in the back of my parent's car and being really grumpy at the flipping French Chansons being on again, with my dad singing along loudly to drown out my screams to PLEASE TURN IT OFF. 10/10 would listen to again.

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

Didn't look up the lyrics, just feelin the vibes

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

It's Jacques Brel, what's not to like?

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Sun Apr 24 2022
4

Easy listening if you want. Passionate, exciting, inspired performances.

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Wed Apr 27 2022
4

Chanson francesa. Está bien y se sale de lo común de la lista. Un 4.

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Wed May 11 2022
4

Doesn't really sound like a live album until the audience claps at the end of each track - great mixing! Very fun French music of the era. Not my thing, but can't argue it's not great. Probably would've gotten more sick of it if it was longer than 30minutes hahah.

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Mon May 16 2022
4

Enjoyable. I've heard of Jacques Brel but never really listened to him before. I was well aware of his influence and now have a better understanding of why he is praised. Performance wise, I don't need to understand French to get the story telling involved in his songs.

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Mon May 23 2022
4

Not my taste, but this guy is talented.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
4

I don’t know what I was expecting here, but I kind of loved it? My experience with French music is pretty damn limited- mainly just the Neigeverse and Charlotte Gainsbourg- but this is right up my alley. It’s basically a Parisian Sinatra backed by Duke Ellington, which yes please. Will come back to. B

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Fri Jun 03 2022
4

Smá legacy bónus út af Bowie tengingunni, en þetta er líka mjög flott live plata og skemmtileg.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
4

I never heard this one before but it was rather disappointing

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Sun Jun 19 2022
4

My album #301, and it's a lovely one. Several of Brel's chansons are of course classics. His performance is compelling, the band does a good job too. I don't understand most of the French lyrics but the language sounds nice. (Brel also recorded some of his songs in Dutch but I prefer the French. Noteworthy by the way is a recording of Brel's work in Frisian by Douwe Heeringa in a 'lighter' style.) I listened to Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964, containing 15 songs. Personal highlight is Le Plat Pays, while Amsterdam and Les Bourgeois stand out as well. One can argue about live albums in the list. Let's say that in this case the live aspect doesn't add much compared to studio versions.

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Sun Jun 19 2022
4

Great Jacques Brel live album of course, these chansons are obviously all of 5-star quality, and their live versions are often better than the studio ones.. But not sure if live albums should be included in this list, even though some are quite legendary and some of them have several tracks that do not appear on any studio album. Tough choice, as Olympia 64 satisfies both criteria.. so 4 stars then in the end.

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Mon Aug 01 2022
4

Great crooner. I enjoyed listening to this very much.

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Mon Aug 01 2022
4

Reminds of a French Leonard Cohen. Thanks to French class, I was able to follow along pretty decently. There's a lot of passion, pain, art, and angst in this album - not sure what it is about Western Europeans, but they seem to delve right into the feelings of things & let it flow out of them like poetry. I've just added this to my Edith Piaf playlist. P.S. While listening on YouTube, I found a 1001 Albums Journey YT channel

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Fri Aug 12 2022
4

From what I gather Mr. Brel was quite the lyricist, but since I don't speak any French I cannot confirm or deny. I do know that he had a very nice singing voice and that transcends language. This was a rather pleasurable listen with no fat to be found. Good music that doesn't over stay its welcome. I'll take it.

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Mon Aug 15 2022
4

4.0 - Recordings of live performances work best when they convey the electricity of the moment, and in that regard this record succeeds marvelously. Brel's voice is a triumph - you can hear his lungs, throat, mouth and tongue flexing to project and articulate every line with the muscular proficiency of a bodybuilder. The audience's ovations are deafening, most notably after the first and most striking track "Amsterdam."

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Nice flowing, autumny vibes. I'm not the biggest fan of chanson, but this is quite good. Best track is Amsterdam. 3.5/5

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Sun Sep 04 2022
4

Well well. I want expecting much but I found this enjoyable. So I did some research which led to Bowie singing Amsterdam (good, but not at Brel's level) and live clips of Brel. So much emotion. And sweat.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

I really don’t know how to rate this album. I had no idea what he was saying, and I know nothing about the genre to compare it to. So it gets two stars for the amazing voice and two stars for making me feel like I was on vacation while listening.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

This is certainly not the kind of thing I'd usually listen to, but I found myself quite enjoying this! I honestly wish I had a better understanding of French, but the lyrical prowess of Brel is very evident even without really understanding the lyrics. If anything it's a motivation for me to learn the language, because Chanson seems quite interesting! Favourite: "Les Toros"

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