This is my favourite song. I discovered it just a few years ago. Jacques Brel puts so much pure emotion into this version it really gets to me.
I don't speak French. Yet I love this video. I think it cannot be bettered by any other recording. The Brel lyrics are superbly poetic. The French language is so beautiful, even to a muppet such as I, who cannot speak it.
Brel was born in Belgium but lived half his life in Paris. He died in a Paris suburb of lung cancer; he was a very heavy smoker, giving up near the end of his life - far too late.
Jacques Brel died in 1978 aged only 49. His death was widely mourned in both France and Belgium. He is buried close to the painter, Paul Gauguin, on the Island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands.
I have most of his recordings; he sings with such passion. His recordings of "Amsterdam" and "Jef" are great, but Ne Me Quitte Pas is superlative, in my opinion.
There have been hundreds of different recordings of Brel's works. The English version of Ne Me Quitte Pas is "If You Go Away", recorded by numerous singers such as Dusty Springfield and Shirley Bassey. This version is very good, but you just cannot beat the original French version, especially the Jacques Brel rendition above.