Au Suivant

Album: Jacques Brel (1966)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This is a somewhat off-beat song about a virgin soldier whose first encounter with the opposite sex is in the incredibly sordid setting of a mobile brothel during the war, presumably the Second World War. Although such brothels did exist, Brel was obviously not writing from personal experience because he was born in 1929 and therefore too young to enlist. Nevertheless, he captures the atmosphere extremely well, and this was one of his most popular songs.
  • After the war and for the rest of his life, the narrator, a (former) soldier, is haunted by the voice of his commanding officer "Au suivant!" literally "To the following one" but generally translated as "Next." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • The French artist -M- (Mathieu Chedid) covered this in 2003 on Aux Suivants, a compilation album of songs by Jacques Brel. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 2

  • Ivan Araque from NycThank you, Gian Luca, that is a great info for a great song!
  • Gian Luca Ferme from Chicago, IllinoisRecently, I was reading Never Come Morning by Nelson Algren and there is a scene in which the protagonist falls for his friends' invitations to get his girlfriend drunk and rape her. When she comes to she goes on repeating, "Next... Next..." and I immediately thought about this song. Algren was fairly popular in France (he had a famous relationship with Simone de Beauvoir, and she even came to Chicago to visit him): I wouldn't be surprised if Brel had read that book (the song is from 1966, Algren's book from 1948).
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes

Chris Robinson of The Black CrowesSongwriter Interviews

"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.

Bill Withers

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

Charlie Daniels

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.