Album: Marieke (1961)
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  • "Marieke" is the opening and title track of Jacques Brel's fifth album. Over a waltz rhythm, the Belgian singer expresses his love for a Flemish girl, Marieke. Sadly, she no longer loves him.
  • Brel wrote "Marieke" with the French pianist and composer Gérard Jouannest. The pair first worked together in 1959 and their collaborations over the next decade included "Ne Me Quitte Pas," "Ces Gens-Là," and "Les Vieux." In 1968, Brel introduced Jouannest to his future wife, singer Juliette Gréco.
  • "Marieke" is a bilingual song with lyrics both in Brel's native French language and in Dutch, one of the three official languages of Belgium. Brel also recorded a version of the song entirely in Dutch, with lyrics by Eric Franssen.
  • Brel recorded the Marieke album between February 22 and April 12, 1961. His fifth album for Philips, it's also known as No. 5.
  • Artists who have covered "Marieke" include Judy Collins, Shawn Elliott, Mort Shuman and Liza Minnelli.

    Judy Collins first encountered Brel's music when recovering from tuberculosis in the early '60s. A friend visited her in the hospital in Denver and bought her one of the Belgian's LPs. "I played it over and over again," she recalled to Uncut magazine. "I saw Brel twice at Carnegie Hall and I just fell in love with his wonderful, wonderful songs."
  • During her career, Collins recorded several of Brel's songs, including "La Colombe," "Chanson des vieux amants," and "Fils de."

    "There's something about their very personal, visceral essence of those songs," she said. "They really get you, because they're wonderful stories."


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