Ne me Quitte Pas and the Magic of Jacques Brel

I got to know the magic of Brussels born Jacques Brel , with his masterpiece ” Ne me Quitte Pas” or as we say in English ” Don’t leave me” . I like French language and I and enjoy speaking it, and I knew the music of Edith Piaff , but I never thought that there was an angelic voice that I had never heard of.

Ne me quitte pas, Il faut oublier, Tout peut s’oublier……

Ne me Quitte Pas” is a story of a lover’s pleading with his love not to leave, and possibly one of the most romantic ones. I mean where else you’ll hear a man pleading his woman not to leave him so he will be ” the shadow of his dog” except in a Jacques Brel song. 

I can’t  just call him a singer I think he was an actor as well, his voice shakes and you think he might start to cry at any moment as he sings and murmurs the words ” Ne me Quitte Pas”.  His body language and they way he hits the high notes, it’s just so deep that it hits you in the heart. I would say his voice and his songs are among the reasons why I love French language and why I was so interested in learning it.

Other Great Songs by Jacques Brel

Jacques Brel is also the singer of other brilliant songs such as ” Amsterdam” , which he wrote while living in a house facing the port of Amsterdam. I read somewhere that he sang this song for one of the sailors at the port right after writing it, and one of them overcame with such emotion that he could hardly stop himself from crying out loud.

There is also another brilliant song by Brel called “Mathilde” in which the singer depicts the story of his unfortunate affair with the woman named ‘Mathilde”  whom appears suddenly in his life only to leave again and break his poor heart. Although he sings that he won’t be fooled by her no more and begs his friends not to leave him with her, but at the end he gives in again and allows her to fool him again, even if it’s for a very short time.

I especially like this song and the way Brel puts disappointment and excitement in his performance of the song.

Vesoul is also another great song by Brel, which has some elements of comedy in itself. The melody and the way Brel sings the song goes great with the confusion that the songwriter is going through with his woman constantly changing her mind about going and leaving to different places.

 Brel’s Legacy

Although Brel died of lung cancer in 1978 (he was 49 years old), and even though he only sang in French language, he still has many followers and fans around the world, who appreciate his music and celebrate him as an outstanding artist. He influenced the late David Bowie, (Bowie actually sang an English version of Brel’s song Amsterdam) . Also his song ” Quand on n’a que l’amour” has been sang by many artists and its English version “When Love is all we Need” is actually a famous song in itself.

So if you’d never heard of him before , I think listening to him only once will make you a fan.


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