Belgian singer Arno dies aged 72, agent announces

The Belgian singer Arno, known in particular for his piece girls by the sea, died at the age of 72, his agent Filip De Groote announced on Saturday April 23, quoted by Flemish television VRT and The evening.

The singer, who had been battling pancreatic cancer since 2019, had to cancel all of his concerts scheduled in France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands until the end of 2021 last July, his doctors having prescribed “rest“.

“He will be missed by all of us, his family, his friends and his musicians. He will always be with us thanks to the music that kept him alive until the end”Filip De Groote said in a statement.

According to VRT, the gravelly-voiced singer, sometimes described as “Belgian Tom Waits“, was working in the last weeks of his life on a new album, which will be released posthumously. “The disc is not finished yet”said Filip De Groote. “We prefer to finish it quietly rather than release it quickly.”

Originally from Ostend, a Flemish coastal town to which he has remained very attached and which he evokes in his songs, Arno began his career with the rock group TC Matic in the 80s, notably with the song Damn, damn (“Damn, damn, it’s really good, we are still all Europeans“).

It was solo that he then revealed himself to a wider audience, thanks to songs like My mother’s eyes or his covers of which he had made a specialty, in particular Girls by the sea of Adamo, The good God by Jacques Brel or Eliza by Serge Gainsbourg.

Unclassifiable singer, mixing blues, rock’n’roll, punk and bal musette, poet of the flat country, lover of words, women and freedom, Arno never stopped creating, singing and telling his stories and his heartaches drowned in alcohol. His title Health recounts the setbacks of all cuckolds around the world.

An insatiable lyricist, a hard worker, he has written a total of more than a thousand titles in English, French or Flemish and leaves about fifteen solo albums. In the last, a moving record called Live, released in 2021, he repeated many of his successes in piano-voice version with the young Lille pianist Sofiane Pamart.

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