La Chanson de Jacky is one of Jacques Brel’s best known compositions, certainly here in the UK, thanks to the fact it has twice been taken into the singles charts in 1967 and 1991, both as cover versions:-
Both versions are an absolute hoot, both have much to offer in terms of enjoyment and style and both are well worth a few minutes of your time for a listen. If pushed, I’d say I preferred Marc Almond’s version for the bravado shown by him and the production/arrangement/mixing cohorts of Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley and Youth in throwing absolutely everything at it to turn it into a genuine camp classic which has stood the test of time.
Having said that, it is worth noting how Scott Walker’s version, which of course I’m way too young to recall, was banned by the BBC because of words like ‘queers’, ‘virgins’ and ‘opium’, and yet such was his popularity at the time that it sold enough copies to reach #22 despite next to no airplay.
A wee snippet of trivia for you.
The b-side of Scott’s single was one of his own – the writing credit is given to Scott Engel which was the name he was born with – and is a wonderfully OTT effort complete with the singer bringing in the conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra to give him the sound he was looking for:-
What many perhaps hadn’t noticed when Marc took Jacky to #17 is that five years earlier he had included this on his covers EP, A Woman’s Story:-
mp3 : Marc Almond – The Plague
Oh and I also discovered while doing my research that Jacques Brel had also, in 1986, been given the cover treatment by the eccentric and occasionally brilliant Nick Currie, who records as Momus, and in doing so offered his own twisted and very personal and incredibly clever take on things :-
mp3 : Momus – Nicky
Cute…..in a stupid ass way