Jacques Romain Georges Brel ( in French) (8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter. The quality and style of his lyrics are highly regarded by many leading critics of popular music.
Brel's songs are not especially well known in the English-speaking world except in translation and through the interpretations of other singers, most famously Scott Walker and Judy Collins. Others who have sung his work in English include Marc Almond, Dave Van Ronk, Alex Harvey, David Bowie, Spencer Moody, Barb Jungr, Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, The Dresden Dolls, Frank Sinatra, Terry Jacks, Nina Simone, Rod McKuen, The Kingston Trio, Gavin Friday, Jack Lukeman, Dax Riggs and Beirut. In French-speaking countries, Brel is also remembered as an actor and director. Jacques Brel has sold over 25 million records worldwide, including over
12 million albums and singles in France and Belgium.