Jacques Romain Georges Brel (French pronunciation: [ʒak bʁɛl]; 8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter. Brel composed and recorded his songs almost exclusively in French, although he recorded a number of songs in Dutch.
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 Karen Akers, Marc Almond, Momus/Nick Currie, Beirut, Bellowhead, David Bowie, Ray Charles, John Denver, The Dresden Dolls, Gavin Friday, Alex Harvey, Terry Jacks, Barb Jungr, The Kingston Trio, Jack Lukeman, Amanda McBroom, Rod McKuen, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Spencer Moody, Camille O'Sullivan, Dax Riggs, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, Sandler and Young, Nirvana, Dave Van Ronk, Brian Molko and James Dean Bradfield. 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.