Jackie

Album: Scott 2 (1967)
Charted: 22

Songfacts®:

  • "Jackie" was written by the Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel and the French pianist Gérard Jouannest. Brel recorded the tune as "La chanson de Jacky" (The song of Jacky) on his 1966 album Ces Gens-Là.
  • One night at the Playboy Club in Park Lane, London, Scott Walker hooked up with a German waitress who introduced him to the music of Jacques Brel. "Brel's voice," he said, "was like a hurricane blowing through the room."

    Walker had recently embarked on a solo career after the breakup of The Walker Brothers. He fell in love with Brel's risqué chansons; still finding his feet as a songwriter, Walker covered nine of Brel's compositions on his first three albums. His version of "La chanson de Jacky," translated from French into English and re-titled "Jackie," was released as his second single.
  • The original Belgian lyrics were translated into English by Mort Shuman, who was also responsible for the hit musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.
  • The single's lyrical content about a drug-taking fantasist who dreams of being "cute, in a stupid-ass way" met with controversy in the UK. It was banned by the BBC, and DJ Simon Dee fell into disfavor after he played it on his Radio 1 lunch time show.
  • Former Soft Cell frontman Marc Almond covered the song in 1991. Featuring a typically over-the-top production by Trevor Horn, it reached #17 on the UK singles chart.

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