Supreme figure in French-language chanson. When he was still struggling to make headway and had come next to last in a competition, Gréco (who described him as raw-boned and untamed) asked if she could sing one of his songs. Both subsequently quit their record labels to join Barclay’s; Barclay became a true friend. Brel acted in films by Carné and Lelouch, took part in a legendary radio interview with his friend Brassens and Ferré, and advised Gainsbourg to sing more himself. Aznavour, another friend, tried in vain to persuade him not to retire from singing.