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Photo of Mike Brant at the frontage of the Beit Lessin Theater
|Birth name||Moshé Michaël Brand|
1 February 1947|
|Died||25 April 1975
Mike Brant (born Moshé Michaël Brand, Hebrew: משה ברנד) (February 1, 1947 – April 25, 1975) was an Israeli pop star who achieved fame after moving to France. His most successful hit was "Laisse-moi t'aimer" ("Let me love you"). Brant committed suicide at the height of his career by jumping from the window of a Paris apartment.
Mike Brant's parents were Holocaust survivors from Poland. His mother, Bronia Rosenberg, originally from Łódź, was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. His father, Fishel Brand, from Biłgoraj, had been a resistance fighter during World War II, and was 20 years his wife's senior. His parents married following the war, and they applied to emigrate to Mandatory Palestine, but were initially denied permission. They attempted to reach Mandate Palestine by sea on an Aliyah Bet ship, and were sent to a British internment camp for illegal Jewish immigrants at Famagusta, on the island of Cyprus. Mike was born in the British Military Hospital at Nicosia, Cyprus, on February 1, 1947. In September 1947, the family emigrated to Palestine after being included in a quota for Jewish immigration, and they arrived in Haifa, settling in a kibbutz in Galilee. Mike Brant did not start speaking until six years of age, and very soon told his family and friends that when he grew up he'd be "a star... or a tramp!" At the age of 11 he joined his school choir.
When he was 17, Moshe Brand joined his brother's band, "The Chocolates", as lead singer. The band started at parties and cafés in Haifa and Tel Aviv and moved on to nightclubs in hotels. Brant sang in English and French, although he spoke only Hebrew. In 1965, he changed his name from Moshe to Mike because it sounded more international. He was discovered by the Israeli impresario Jonathan Karmon, who signed him for a tour around the United States and South Africa that lasted almost a year.
In May 1969, Brant performed at the Baccara club at the Hilton Hotel in Tehran, Iran. A young French singer, Sylvie Vartan, also on the bill, was impressed and urged him to come to Paris. Brant arrived on July 9, 1969. It took ten days to find Vartan but eventually she introduced him to the producer Jean Renard, who had turned Johnny Hallyday into a star. Under Renard's guidance, he changed his surname from Brand to Brant, and recorded his biggest hit, "Laisse-moi t'aimer" ("Let Me Love You"). The song was a success at the Midem music festival in January 1970. "Laisse-moi t'aimer" sold 50,000 copies in two weeks.
Brant represented France in a radio contest broadcast all over Europe and in Israel. His song, sponsored by Radio Luxembourg, was "Mais dans la lumière" ("But In the Light"). He won. He continued to release hits: "Qui saura" ("Who Knows"), "L'Amour c'est ça, l'amour c'est toi" (written by Paul Korda/Robert Talar), "C’est ma prière" ("That's My Prayer"), "Un grand bonheur" ("A Great Joy") and "Parce que je t'aime plus que moi" ("Because I Love You More Than Myself"). His first album, "Disque d'Or" ("Gold Record") sold millions. Brant took a song written and composed by his friend Mike Tchaban/Tashban "Why do I love you? Why do I need you?" but French radio stations would not air it because it was in English. Brant returned to Israel soon afterward.
In February 1971, Brant was injured in a road accident. Although he suffered minor injuries, it received media attention. That year, he gave concerts in Israel, and performed a new song Erev Tov (Good Evening), written together with Nachum Heiman. During his concert tour in Israel, he was accompanied by Israeli singer Yaffa Yarkoni. During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, he performed in Israel for front-line soldiers.
Suicide attempts and death
By 1973, he was giving 250 concerts a year, some attended by 6,000–10,000 people. This went on for two years. He suffered from depression and loneliness, and from the Second Generation Syndrome (family history of the Holocaust), and would alternate, sometimes enjoying life and at other times slipping back into depression. On November 22, 1974, he attempted suicide, jumping out the window of his manager's hotel room in Geneva. He suffered fractures but survived. He cut the number of performances and concentrated on another album, Dis-lui ("Tell Her", French version of "Feeling"). In January 1975, he released two singles, "Qui pourra lui dire" and "Elle a gardé ses yeux d'enfants" (written by Richard Seff and Michel Jourdan).
On April 25, 1975, the day his new album was released, Brant leapt to his death from an apartment located at 6 Rue Erlanger in Paris. He was 28.
Mike Brant was buried in Haifa.
In popular culture
Mike Brant has been sampled by rapper Havoc of the group Mobb Deep, for his track "Live It Up". It was sampled also by RZA of Wu-Tang Clan. Producer/ rapper Dr. Dre sampled Brant's song "Mais dans la lumière" in his track "Crack a Bottle" released by him, Eminem and 50 Cent.
Comedian Dany Boon lampooned Mike Brant in his show Waïka by singing his song "Laisse moi t'aimer" suspended by a rope.
Reportages and documentaries
- In April 1998, a documentary was released Laisse-moi t'aimer: Dmaot Shel Malachim (Tears of Angels). It was a French-Israeli co-production
- Another documentary, Mike Brant: Laisse-moi t'aimer was prepared by Erez Laufer in 2003
- Journalist Jean Pierre Ray made a critical exposure reportage about the affair titled "La nuit des deux couteaux". It was broadcast on French television TF1 on 4 May 2004 thirty years after Brant's death based on the supposed findings of the criminal squad of the SRPJ (service régional de la police judiciare) of Marseille. This prompted Jean-Michel Jacquemin and Fabien Baron mentioned critically in the reportage to launch a defamation lawsuit against Ray and TF1 at the Chambre de la Presse at the "Tribunal de grande instance de Paris" winning the case by a court judgement rendered on 16 November 2005.
- In 2006, journalist Charles Villeneuve prepared another reportage about the case in the programme Le droit de savoir: Faits divers shedding more light on the affair based on interviews with his relatives in Israel, many close to him or his entourage in France.
- In 2008, yet another documentary was released on him Un jour, un destin : Mike Brant, l'icône brisée. It was presented by Laurent Delahousse and broadcast on France 2.
Books and biographies about Mike Brant
(by chronological order)
- Books about Mike Brant
- Hubert and Georges Baumman, La Vraie Vie de Mike Brant, preface by Claude François, éditions Star System, Paris, 1975 (The Baummans were part of Mike Brant's team) ;
- Fabienne Roche, Mike Brant: Le Prix de la gloire, éd. Verso, 1989 ;
- Michel Jourdan, Mike Brant. Il n’a pas eu le temps..., TF1 Musique, Paris, 1995 ;
- Yona Brant, Mike Brant, éd. Vade Retro, Paris, 1997 (with a CD) ;
- Fabien Lecœuvre et Gilles Lhote, Mike Brant inédit, preface of Zvi Brant, éd. Michel Lafon, Paris, 2000 ;
- Jacques Pessis, Mike Brant, collection «Les lumières du music-hall», éd. Vade Retro, Paris, 2002 ;
- Olivier Lebleu, Mike Brant : La Voix du sacrifice, Publibook, Paris, 2002 ;
- Fabien Lecœuvre, Mike Brant : L'Idole foudroyée, La Lagune, Paris, 2005 ;
- Armelle Leroy, Mike Brant : Biographie, preface de Yona Brant, Flammarion, Paris, 2005 ;
- Zvi Brant, Yona Brant and Fabien Lecoeuvre, Mike Brant dans la lumière, Le Marque-pages, Paris, 2009 ;
- Alain-Guy Aknin, Mike Brant : Le Chant du désespoir, Alphée, Monaco, 2010.
- Books partially about Mike Brant
- Jacques Mazeau, Les Destins brisés de la chanson, France-Loisirs, Paris, 1997 ;
- Fabien Lecœuvre et Gilles Lhote, Génération 70 : 70 idoles des années 70, Michel Lafon, Paris, 2001 ;
- Jean Renard, Que je t’aime... la vie, Le Marque-pages, Paris, 2003.
Amaury Vassili chante Mike Brant (album)
On 27 October 2014, the French singer Amaury Vassili released a tribute album to Mike Brant entitled Amaury Vassili chante Mike Brant (meaning Amaury Vassili sings Mike Brant). The album was set to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Mike Brant's death in 1975.
The album in Warner Music entered at number 8 in SNEP French Albums Chart in its first week of release. It also charted at number 17 on the Belgian French (Wallonia) Ultratop Albums Chart. The album was in two formats: An ordinary album and a Collectors Edition that included a number of instrumental arrangemnets of Mike Brant songs. Very notably the album contains "Où que tu sois" that was composed by Brant but never released by him.
- Studio albums
- 1970: Mike Brant
- "Nous irons à Sligo"
- "Mr. Schubert I Love You"
- "Holly Holly"
- "Laisse-moi t'aimer"
- "Mais dans la lumiere"
- "Toi, moi, nous"
- "Et je suis heureux"
- "Un grand bonheur"
- "Au pays de ma maison"
- "Parce que je t'aime plus que moi"
- 1974: Toutes les couleurs
- "Je vis la vie que j'ai choisie"
- "On se retrouve par hasard"
- "Toutes les couleurs"
- "Serre les poings et bats toi"
- "Qui pourra te dire"
- "Elle a gardé ses yeux d'enfant"
- "Essayez de lui mentir"
- "En plein coeur de ta jeunesse"
- "Que tu es belle"
- "C'est comme ça que je t'aime"
- 1974: 74
- A1: "Viens ce soir"
- A2: "Laisse moi t'aimer"
- A3: "C'est une belle fête"
- A4: "Arrava"
- A5: "Tout donne, tout repris"
- A6: "La musique au fond du Cœur"
- B1: "Rien qu'une larme"
- B2: "Toi mon enfant"
- B3: "Qui saura"
- B4: "Das ist mein lied"
- B5: "C'est ma priere"
- 1976: Dis-lui
- A1: "Dis-lui"
- A2: "Serre les poings et bats-toi"
- A3: "My Way"
- A4: "Je vis la vie que j'ai choisie"
- A5: "Malaguena"
- B1: "Donne un peu de toi (Song for Donna)"
- B2: "C'est comme ça que je t'aime"
- B3: "L'oiseau noir et l'oiseau blanc"
- B4: "Qui pourra te dire"
- B5: "Summertime (Tchop-Tchop)"
- Compilation albums
- 1980: Disque d'Or
- 1990: 15ème anniversaire
- 1995: 20ème anniversaire
- 1990: 25ème anniversaire
- 2000: Laisse-mou t'aimer - Le meilleur de Mike Brant
- 2002: L'essentiel
- 2008: Platinum Collection
- 2009: Master série
- 2009: Best Of (3CDs)
- 2012: Éternel
- 2013: Les plus grandes chansons
- 2013: Laisse-moi chanter!
- 2014: La voix de l'amour / La voix du bonheur
- 2014: L'inoubliable
- "Laisse-moi t'aimer"
- "Mais dans la lumière"
- "Qui saura"
- "L'Amour c'est ça, l'amour c'est toi"
- "C'est ma priere"
- "Un grand bonheur"
- "Parce que je t'aime plus que moi"