Jacques Brel

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If we only have love
Then tomorrow will dawn…

Jacques Brel (French: [ʒak bʁɛl]; 8 April 19299 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter whose thoughtful and theatrical songs generated a large, devoted following in Belgium, France and throughout the world. Although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as Rod McKuen, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie.

Quotes[edit]

If we only have love
We will never bow down…
  • Adieu, Francoise, my trusted wife;
    Without you I'd have had a lonely life.
    You cheated lots of times but then,
    I forgave you in the end
    Though your lover was my friend.

    Adieu, Francoise, it's hard to die
    When all the birds are singing in the sky.

    Now that spring is in the air
    With your lovers ev'rywhere,
    Just be careful; I'll be there.

    • Seasons in the Sun" (1961), as translated by Rod McKuen from Brel's song "Le Moribond" · McKuen performance · Beach Boys performance
    • Goodbye, Michelle, my little one;
      You gave me love and helped me find the sun,
      And every time that I was down
      You would always come around
      And get my feet back on the ground.

      Goodbye, Michelle, it's hard to die
      When all the birds are singing in the sky;
      Now that the spring is in the air,
      With the flowers everywhere,
      I wish that we could both be there!

Quand on n'a que l'amour (1957)[edit]

If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail
To be born once again…
  • If we only have love
    We can reach those in pain
    We can heal all our wounds
    We can use our own names.
  • If we only have love
    We can melt all the guns
    And then give the new world
    To our daughters and sons.If we only have love
    Then Jerusalem stands
    And then death has no shadow
    There are no foreign lands.
  • If we only have love
    We will never bow down

    We'll be tall as the pines
    Neither heroes nor clowns.
    If we only have love
    Then we'll only be men
    And we'll drink from the Grail
    To be born once again
    Then with nothing at all
    But the little we are
    We'll have conquered all time
    All space, the sun, and the stars.

Quotes about Brel[edit]

  • As friends and as musical collaborators we had traveled, toured and written — together and apart — the events of our lives as if they were songs, and I guess they were. When news of Jacques’ death came I stayed locked in my bedroom and drank for a week. That kind of self pity was something he wouldn’t have approved of, but all I could do was replay our songs (our children) and ruminate over our unfinished life together.
    • Rod McKuen, in liner notes for Greatest Hits - Without a Worry in the World (August 1992)

External links[edit]

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