Georges BrassensGeorges Brassens
)was a French
singer and songwriter. An iconic figure in France, he achieved fame through his simple, elegant songs and articulate, diverse lyrics; indeed, he is considered one of France's best postwar poets, and won the national poetry prize. In addition, he set to music poems by many well-known and relatively obscure poets, including Louis Aragon
, Victor Hugo
, Jean Richepin and others. He rarely performed outside his own country, and his lyrics are hard to translate, though attempts have been made. He began his career in the 1940s
, and his songs over the years covered themes from friendship ("Les copains d'abord", which was really about a boat of that name; "Chanson pour l'Auvergnat" and "La cane de Jeanne" for Marcel and Jeanne Planche, who befriended and sheltered him; and others) to whimsical semi-autobiography ("La mauvaise reputation") to near-pornography ("Le gorille" which got banned for a while), as well as many other topics. He died of cancer in 1981, having suffered health problems for many years.