Georges Brassens  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Georges Brassens (October 22, 1921 - October 29, 1981) was a French acoustic singer and songwriter.

Georges Brassens was born in Sète (then called Cette), in southern France, thirty-six kilometers south of Montpellier. Now an iconic figure in France, he achieved fame through his simple, elegant songs and articulate, diverse lyrics; indeed, he is considered one of France's best postwar poets, and won the national poetry prize. He also set to music poems by many well-known and relatively obscure poets, including Louis Aragon (Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux), Victor Hugo, Jean Richepin, François Villon, Guillaume Apollinaire and others.

During World War II, he was forced to work at a labour camp by the Germans at an aircraft engine plant of BMW in the Service du Travail Obligatoire, (STO, enforced labour), in Basdorf near Berlin in Germany (march 1943). There were many other celebrities, and celebrities to be, at the camp. Here Brassens met some of his future friends, such as Pierre Onteniente, whom he called Gibraltar because the latter was "steady as a rock." They would become the closest of friends.

After being given ten days' leave in France, he decided not to go back to the labour camp. Brassens took refuge in a little slum called "Impasse Florimont" where he lived for several years with the owner of the place, Jeanne Planche, a friend of his aunt. Jeanne lived with her husband Marcel in a dead end street without gas, running water or electricity. He remained hidden there until the end of the war five months later, but ended up staying for 22 years. Planche was the inspiration for Brassens's song Jeanne.



All of Georges Brassens' studio albums are untitled. They are referred either as self-titled with a number, or by the title of the first song on the album, or by the most well-known song. thumb|Brassens performing live in 1964

Studio albums

  • 1952: La Mauvaise Réputation
  • 1953: Le Vent (or Les Amoureux des bancs publics)
  • 1954: Les Sabots d'Hélène (or Chanson pour l'Auvergnat)
  • 1956: Je me suis fait tout petit
  • 1957: Oncle Archibald
  • 1958: Le Pornographe
  • 1960: Les Funérailles d'antan (or Le Mécréant)
  • 1961: Le Temps ne fait rien à l'affaire
  • 1962: Les Trompettes de la renommée
  • 1964: Les Copains d'abord
  • 1966: Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète
  • 1969: Misogynie à part (or La Religieuse)
  • 1972: Fernande
  • 1976: Trompe la mort (or Nouvelles chansons)
  • 1979: Brassens-Moustache jouent Brassens en jazz (with Moustache and les Petits français, jazz versions of previously released songs; re-released in 1989 as Giants of Jazz Play Brassens)
  • 1982: Georges Brassens chante les chansons de sa jeunesse (cover album of old songs)

Live albums

  • 1973: Georges Brassens in Great Britain
  • 1996: Georges Brassens au TNP (recorded in 1966)
  • 2001: Georges Brassens à la Villa d'Este (recorded in 1953)
  • 2001: Bobino 64
  • 2006: Concerts de 1959 à 1976 (box set featuring concerts from 1960, 1969, 1970, 1973 and 1976)


Now more than 50 doctoral dissertations have been written about Georges Brassens, and many artists from Japan, Russia, the United States (where there is a Georges Brassens' fan club), Italy and Spain make cover versions of his songs. His songs have been translated into 20 languages, including Esperanto.

Many singers have covered Georges Brassens' lyrics in other languages, for instance Fabrizio De André (in Italian), Alberto Patrucco (in Italian), and Nanni Svampa (in Italian and Milanese), Graeme Allwright and Jake Thackray (in English), Sam Alpha (in creole), Yossi Banai (in Hebrew), Jiří Dědeček (in Czech), Mark Freidkin (in Russian), Paco Ibáñez, Javier Krahe and Eduardo Peralta (in Spanish), Jacques Ivart (in esperanto), Franz Josef Degenhardt and Ralf Tauchmann (in German) and Zespół Reprezentacyjny and Piotr Machalica (in Polish), Cornelis Vreeswijk (Swedish) and Tuula Amberla (in Finnish). Dieter Kaiser, a Belgian-German singer who performs in public concerts with the French-German professional guitarrist Stéphane Bazire under the name Stéphane & Didier has translated into German language and gathered in a brochure 19 chansons of Brassens. He also translated among others the poem "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" of the French contemporary poet Louis Aragon. Franco-Cameroonian singer Kristo Numpuby also released a cover-album with the original French lyrics but adapted the songs to various African rhythms.

Nowadays, there is an international association of Georges Brassens fans. There is also a fan club in Berlin-Basdorf which organizes a Brassens festival every year in September.

Brassens composed about 250 songs, but only 200 were recorded. The other 50 were unfinished.

Renée Claude, an important Québécois singer, dedicates a tribute-album to him, J'ai rendez-vous avec vous (1993).

His songs have a major influence on younger French singers (Maxime Le Forestier, Renaud Séchan, Bénabar etc)

In 2008 the English folk-singer Leon Rosselson included a tribute song to Brassens, entitled "The Ghost of Georges Brassens", on his album "A Proper State".

Jean Ferrat wrote the song "À Brassens" ("To Brassens") on his album "Ferrat". The song was dedicated to George Brassens.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Georges Brassens" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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