Music of Belgium  

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Ann Christy, Brainticket, Telex, Jacques Kluger, Two Man Sound, Wannes Van de Velde, Raymond van het Groenewoud, Jacques Brel, Stromae, Elko Blijweert


New Beat


"Putain, putain, c'est vachement bien, on est quand même tous des Européens."--"Putain putain" (1983) by TC Matic


"Les Bourgeois, c'est comme les cochons" --"Les Bourgeois" (1962) by Jacques Brel


"As a composer, Peter Vermeersch has his own place among the long list of contemporary Belgian composers, although, due to his lack of formal training and his involvement with pop music, he doesn't necessarily fit in with the likes of Wim Henderickx, Luc Brewaeys or Boudewijn Buckinx."--Sholem Stein

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In music, Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846. The first Belgian singer to successfully pursue an international career is the pioneer of varieté and pop music Bobbejaan Schoepen. Jazz musician Toots Thielemans is world famous, so is singer Jacques Brel. In rock/pop music Front 242 and dEUS are well known.

Lou Deprijck was a bestselling artist.

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Pop, Rock and indie rock

In 1959 the Belgian singer of Italian descent Rocco Granata scored a big European hit with "Marina". The singing nun Soeur Sourire had an international number one hit in 1963 with Dominique (song). When folk and hippie culture finally hit a chord around the world the groups The Pebbles ("Seven Horses in the Sky", "I Get Around") and The Wallace Collection ("Daydream") have considerable success in other countries. Due to a lack of real professional management these few pop groups fail to build out a durable international career, a trend which continues during the 1970s when the most successful artists sing in their native tongue. The only real new international successful artist is Plastic Bertrand. (See "Punk" below).

Real international success for Belgian acts begins in 1980 with the rock group TC Matic They are quite popular in the rest of Europe with numbers like "Oh la la la" and "Putain Putain". Lead singer Arno later started his own successful solo career. Many groups and artists have considerable success in other countries, but they usually don't reach much further than West Europe. Notable exceptions are Maurane, Jo Lemaire, Soulsister ("The Way To Your Heart", 1987) and Vaya Con Dios ("Puerto Rico", 1988).

In the early 1990s many alternative rock bands finally start to achieve larger international acclaim and success. In Antwerp, a lively indie rock scene sprouts where dEUS is probably the most famous, next to other people and groups like Zita Swoon (formerly Moondog Jr), Evil Superstars, Kiss My Jazz, Dead Man Ray, K's Choice ("I'm not an addict") and Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung. In the noise genre Antwerp houses the pioneer band Club Moral. Ghent also has a booming indie scene: Absynthe Minded, Das Pop, Millionaire, Zornik, Admiral Freebee, Awaken and the successful Soulwax bring indierock with a slightly rougher edge than their Antwerp fellows, while The Vogues (Brussels) have a British-influenced sound. Other popular artists are Kate Ryan and Gabriel Rios.

Flemish music

Wannes Van de Velde, Raymond van het Groenewoud

Bobbejaan Schoepen has been a pioneer in Belgian vaudeville and pop music since the late 1940s. Not only was he the first Belgian singer to manage an international breakthrough, he was also the first to use modern equipment, a personal tourbus and a system of artist sponsoring. He also introduced the first country & western recordings in the Low Countries and Germany. In the 1950s Bobbejaan Schoepen recorded his own absolutely crazy folk music often singing in the dialect of his native Brussels. He is also a virtuoso whistler.

During the 1950s and following decades the most popular, enduring, commercial and critical successful Flemish singer was Will Tura, whose most well known hit in Flanders is "Ik ben zo eenzaam zonder jou" (1963) ("I'm so lonely without you").

The most popular and enduring artists in Flanders and the Netherlands who sing in either their Flemish dialect or standard Dutch are Eddy Wally, Raymond van het Groenewoud, De Kreuners, Clouseau, Gorki (band), Noordkaap and de Fixkes.


Electronic music

The earliest Belgian electronica act was Telex ("Moskow Diskow", "Eurovision"). Frontman Marc Moulin later moved on to pursue a solo career.

At the end of the 1980s Belgium started to play a very important role in the development of house music. A new genre, newbeat was created and scored international hits with acts like The Confettis ("The Sound of C." (1988)), Front 242. The group Technotronic has a massive international hit with Pump Up The Jam.

In the 1990s acts, like the partially Dutch-Belgian 2 Unlimited ("No Limit") and the Flemish Lords of Acid and Praga Khan, were internationally successful. Other internationally renowned Belgian dance acts are 2 Many Dj's (a spin-off from the group Soulwax), Sylver, Milk Inc., Vive La Fête,...

The Glimmer Twins are Moe and Benoelie, a DJ duo originating from Ghent, Belgium. They host a residency at the Culture Club in Ghent. Their musical output can be found on Belgian label Eskimo Records. Ivan Smagghe released Death Disco on Eskimo Records.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Music of Belgium" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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