The Belgian singer Arno, known mainly for the song Les filles du bord de mer, died at the age of 72, his agent Filip De Groote, quoted by the Flemish television VRT and Le Soir, announced on Saturday 23 April.
The singer, who had been battling pancreatic cancer since 2019, had to cancel all his concerts scheduled in France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands until the end of 2021 last July because doctors had ordered him to “calm down”.
“We will all miss him, his family, friends and musicians. He will always be with us thanks to the music that kept him alive until the end,” Filip De said in a statement. Great.
According to VRT, the singer with a gravel voice, sometimes described as “Belgian Tom Waits”, worked in the last weeks of his life on a new album, which will be released posthumously. “The record is not finished yet,” said Filip De Groote. “We’d rather finish it quietly than release it quickly.”
Arno Hintjens was born on May 21, 1949 in Ostend, a Flemish coastal city to which he remained very attached and which he evokes in his songs. He started his career in the 80’s with the rock band TC Matic, especially with the song “Putain, putain” (“Fuck, fuck, it’s really good, we’re still all Europeans”), a title recently taken over in a duet with another Belgian Stromae.
He then revealed himself as a soloist to a wider audience thanks to songs like My Mother’s Eyes or his covers, from which he made a special, especially Les Filles du bord de mer d’Adamo, but also Le Bon Dieu by Jacques. Brel or Elisa by Serge Gainsbourg.
An unclassifiable singer, mixing blues, rock’n’roll, punk and bal musette, a flat country poet, a lover of words, women and freedom, Arno never stopped creating, singing and telling his stories, and his grief was drowning in alcohol. Her title Health describes the failures of all the cuckolds around the world.
The voracious lyricist, a hard worker, has written a total of more than a thousand titles in English, French or Flemish and has about fifteen solo albums. In his last moving album, Vivre, released in 2021, he repeated many of his successes in the piano and voice version with the young pianist Lille Sofiane Pamart.