The 1950s and 1960s were the golden era of French popular song, known as chanson français, and Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel epitomized both the music and the era. Their fame was worldwide, with writers and artists such as David Bowie and Gabriel García Márquez citing them as key influences.
In Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel, Chris Tinker sheds new light on the pair and their work by moving beyond the biographical and linguistic approaches that tend to dominate the study of French song. Instead, Tinker focuses on the social and cultural impact of the music--and public personas--of Brassens and Brel. He explores the fascinating mix of the personal and the general in their lyrics and the way those often opposing impulses played out in their songs and through their careers. Tinker also is careful to give the musical aspects of the songs their proper attention, considering the ways in which they alternately support or undermine the personas developed in the singers' lyrics.
Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel will be the definitive look at the work--and the world--of the two greatest figures of chanson français.
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Chris Tinker is a lecturer in French at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.
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