Jacques Brel was one of the most popular singers of French songs (1929-1978). After a childhood full of boredom and normality, Brel started to work in his father's cardboard factory. But he wanted a different kind of life. He had been writing songs all his life and in the early 1950s he went to Paris. After a few years he became hugely successful. His songs include 'Amsterdam', 'La Valse a Mille Temps', 'Vesoul' and 'Au Suivant'. He was covered by, among many others, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and David Bowie. His songs have been translated in many different languages. In 1966, when he was more successful than ever, he quit performing on stage. Instead, he became an actor in musicals and films. He also directed two films. In the 1970s, he became a sailor and tried to sail around the world. He ended up at the Marquesas Islands in 1976. In 1973 Brel discovered that he had lung cancer. The illness took his life in 1978.