Album #43 – Olympia 64
This album is fascinating to listen to. It captures brilliantly the French pop genre called Chanson in which French Pop artists like Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg sang these passionate, emotional songs. The Olympia, where this album was recorded, is steeped in history. Edith Piaf did several recitals there and Jeff Buckley played there in 1995. It was also where this album was recorded. Jacques Brel is a phenomenal artist. Hearing this album reminded me of programs I used to watch as a kid that were filmed in Paris and hosted by legendary French television host Jacques Martin. One of the shows showed young kids performing and talking with Martin in an interview. Think Kids Say The Darndest Things meets a talent contest. Another program Martin hosted featured pop artists performing their songs. This album reminded me of that show. Jacques Brel is not only showing emotion in his performances but he is having fun. The crowd is loving it. The orchestra is very French with sounds of Accordian mixed in with strings and horns. The most famous song off this album is Amsterdam which was translated into English and recorded by David Bowie in the early 1970s. Brel also wrote the french version of Terry Jacks 1970’s hit Seasons In The Sun. I really enjoyed this album. I am glad it was on the list because it shows just how different French Pop music was from British and American pop music. It was more emotional, sometimes fun and very tradtional. Chanson is almost equal to the American standards only most artists in Chanson wrote their own songs. Highlights from the album include: Amsterdam, Les Jardins du Casino, Les Bonbons and Les Bourgeois (a song in which Brel compares the rich to pigs!!!). Overall, I give this album 5 out of 5.
Next: Rock N’ Soul by The recently deceased Solomon Burke