Les Marquises (English: The Marquesas) is Jacques Brel's thirteenth and final album. Also known as Brel, the album was released 17 November 1977 by Barclay (96 010). This was the singer's first album of new songs in ten years and was released a year before his death from lung cancer. The album's themes include death ("Jaurès", "Vieillir", "Jojo"), parting ("Orly") and in several songs Brel evokes his career in the 1960s ("Les F..", "Jojo", "Knokke-le-Zoute Tango", "Vieillir"). The album was recorded live in Studio B at the Barclay Studios on Avenue Hoche, Paris. With his health failing, Brel was only able to record at most two songs per day. Brel returned to the Marquesas Islands shortly after the recording sessions.
|Studio album by|
|Released||17 November 1977|
|Recorded||5 September –|
1 October 1977
Studio Hoche, Paris
|Jacques Brel chronology|
The album was treated with great secrecy before its release and was delivered to reviewers in a reinforced metal box with a timed, electronic padlock to stop them listening to it before its release date. No airplay of the album was allowed and no singles were released until after its release, and there were no interviews or promotion given by Brel regarding the album. Despite this, the album reached number one in France and earned Brel a gold record for selling 100,000 albums in 1978 and went platinum in 1981. It is estimated that the album sold 1,127,100 copies.
|2||"La ville s’endormait"||The city was falling asleep||Jacques Brel||1977-09-08|
|3||"Vieillir"||Ageing||Jacques Brel, Gérard Jouannest||1977-09-29|
|4||"Le Bon Dieu"||The good Lord||Jacques Brel||1977-09-23|
|5||"Les F..."||The F...||Jacques Brel, Joe Donato||1977-09-22|
|7||"Les Remparts de Varsovie"||The ramparts of Warsaw||Jacques Brel||1977-09-23|
|8||"Voir un ami pleurer"||Watching a friend crying||Jacques Brel||1977-09-21|
|9||"Knokke-le-Zoute Tango"||Knokke-le-Zoute Tango||Jacques Brel||1977-09-27|
|11||"Le Lion"||The lion||Jacques Brel||1977-09-24|
|12||"Les Marquises"||The Marquesas||Jacques Brel||1977-10-01|
|13||"Sans Exigences"||Without demands||Jacques Brel, François Rauber||1977-09-24|
|14||"Avec élégance"||With elegance||Jacques Brel, François Rauber||1977-09-24|
|15||"Mai 40"||May 40||Jacques Brel||1977-09-24|
|16||"L’Amour est mort"||Love is dead||Jacques Brel, Gérard Jouannest||1977-09-24|
|17||"La Cathédrale"||The cathedral||Jacques Brel||1977-09-24|
- Tracks 1–12 constituted the original 1977 release of the album.
- Tracks 13–17 were recorded during the same sessions but Brel found them unfinished and asked his producer Barclay to not release them, they were added later to the album when it was reissued as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons.
- "Les F..." adapted from "The Frog" excerpt from João Donato A Bad Donato (1970).
- Jacques Brel – composer, vocals
- François Rauber – orchestra conductor, arrangements, liner notes
- François Rauber et Son Orchestre - orchestra
- Gérard Jouannest – piano, liner notes
- Marcel Azzola – accordion
- Maddly Bamy - voice on "Le lion" (uncredited)
- Sylvain Taillet – producer
- Gerhardt Lehner – recording engineer & audio mixing
- Jean-Pierre Michau - recording assistant
- Laurent Guéneau – audio mixing (tracks 13–17)
- Jean-Marie Guérin – mastering
- Jean-Michel Deligny – photography (inner)
- Alain Marouani – photography