This is the final part of Behind The Brel, a BBC documentary narrated by Marc Almond on the life and career of Jacques Brel, one of the greatest songwriters and performers of all time. Listen to the previous parts here: Part 1: An Introduction, Part 2: The Existentialist, The Selected Playlist.
Brel didn’t want to live a conventional life and would always try to run away from routine. That’s why he started to compose and sing. That’s why he then quit the stage in 1967 to focus on acting and directing films. Eternal adolescent, he developed a passion for sailing and navigated around the world. But he also had many affairs and fear of routine eventually lead him to abandon his wife and daughter.
In 1974 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. But his illness didn’t quite manage to take away his extroardinary energy. He spent his last years living on the Marquisas islands while sailing around the Carribeans and working on his last album, Les Marquises, which remains one of his most acclaimed. He died one year later, in 1978.
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Behind The Brel: The Story of Jacques Brel – Part 3: Hungry for Life