A small history of nearly all Belgian covers

manneken dylanBelgium is a hotchpotch of several Western European cultures. The land itself is mainly divided into a Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia, with a German-speaking area and a not insignificant group of people of foreign origin, mainly from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Morocco and Poland. This diversification also continues in the Belgium music business, which - in addition to its national peculiarities - follows the music in the country, the traditions of the neighboring European countries and the rest of Western music.

The music in Belgium is delivered through the traditional channels. Radio and TV define mainstream music. Stores have recorded music of all genres for sale. Major festivals, hall performances, concerts, but also small-scale performances and club music give opportunity to witness the abundancy of live music.

wikipedia compUnless otherwise noted all information was gathered from Wikipedia.

The 60's: Bobbejaan Schoepen, Wil Tura & Jacques Brel

We start our short story of the Belgian pop history at the beginning of the sixties, when Bobbejaan Schoepen (the Belgian Roy Rogers) was at the top of his career. He had six No. 1 hits in the Belgian charts from 1960 to 1964. From 1958 to 1961 he toured Flanders with his own circus tent before starting his own amusement parc Bobbejaanland.

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The 70's: Folkrock, Progrock, The Festivals, Punk

In the seventies several Flemish artists were successful both in the genre of popular songs (Willy Sommers, John Terra, Salim Seghers) as the more folk-oriented music. The late 60s and early 70s created a generation of entertainers, such as Wannes Van de Velde, Zjef Vanuytsel, Kris De Bruyne, William Vermandere, Wim De Craene, Jan De Wilde, Jan Puimege, Miek en Roel, Tim Visterin, Johan Verminnen and young Raymond van het Groenewoud, who would score a huge rockhit several years later with "Meisjes".

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The 80's: More Festivals, House and Techno

In the 80 rock and alternative music continued to develop in Belgium: TC Matic (Arno), The Employees, Luna Twist, The Bet, Scooter, Lavvi Ebbel, Rick Tubbax & The Taxis, Jo Lemaire & Flouze, De Kreuners, Arbeid Adelt , Nacht und Nebel, Allez Allez, 2 Belgen and The Machines. Many of them broke through thanks to the compilation album Get Sprouts. By analogy with “Nederpop” (the way the new wave was called in The Netherlands) it was named Belpop.

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The 90's: allsorts of styles and genre's

In the 90s the 2nd wave of Belpop brought a new generation of alternative rock artists with sometimes international success Bands like dEUS, K's Choice and Zita Swoon. The pop band The Radios, Bart Peeters (picture) and the brothers Ronny and Robert Mosuse, did very well nationwide. The metal band Channel Zero broke through to a wider audience. The Flemish singer Axelle Red scored with her French chansons, especially in France.

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The 00's: a new wave takes the stage

After the somewhat dull and uninspiring 90’s a new wave of rock bands was ready to take the stage  in 2000, including Ozark Henry, Dead Man Ray, Novastar, Daan, Stash, Millionaire, Flip Kowlier and Zornik. Around 2005, we saw Absynthe Minded, Gabriel Rios, Milow, Sioen, Admiral Freebee, Das Pop, The Black Box Revelation and Triggerfinger stood up. Many of them have ever won Humo's Rock Rally, or at least reached the final. They sometimes experienced success abroad and stood on the stage at Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop.

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The 10's: Stromae, Selah Sue and Gotye

In 2010, a skinny boy from Brussels with the strange name Stromae scored across Europe a hit with Alors on danse. In 2013, he scored again with the album and the singles Racine carrée Formidable and Papaoutai. His musical style is a combination of hip hop, electronic music and chanson influenced by Jacques Brel.

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Odds and end

We’re at the end of our guided tour, unfortunately. You might have, up until now, always thought that Belgium might be one of the most insignificant countries in the world. But since you’ve now read about the glorious history of Belgian Rock-n-Roll (and what Bob Dylan exactly had to do with that) it is perhaps time to adjust your mindset.

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