Tributes have been pouring in from around the Eurovision fandom and beyond following the death of Belgium’s Eurovision 1988 singer Joseph Reynaerts. The veteran singer, who performed under the name Reynaert, lost his battle with COVID-19 on November 5th at the age of 65.
Reynaert was born in the town of Seraing in the French part of Belgium on July 24, 1955. He kickstarted his career when he won an annual music competition in the town of Spa back in 1978, performing the song “Cerf-volant”, which became his first single released nationwide. By 1984 he could claim several singles and a fairly successful album.
In February of 1988, Reynaert won the Belgian national final with “Laissez briller le soleil” (Let The Sun Shine), a song he wrote and composed along with Dany Willem and Philippe Anciaux. At the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, he gave a soulful performance of his contemporary song, accompanied by Sandra Kim’s former backing vocalist Francois Vidick. But his number failed to make an impression on the juries and finished 18th out of 21 acts. Its only points came from France.
“Laissez briller le soleil” may have been buried in the contest of 1988, but many fans, including myself, hold it in high regard. As time has gone by, it’s become somewhat of a gem and deserves its place in Eurovision history.
After Eurovision, Reynaert continued to work on music and art in all its wonderful forms. Up until his death, he was the director of Centre Culturel de Soumagne in Soumagne, managing everything from solo artists to vast theatrical productions.
COVID-19 has claimed yet another victim, and with a heavy heart, we at wiwibloggs send our deepest condolences to Reynaert’s friends and family.
Do you have fond memories of Reynaert and his Eurovision performance? Which of his other songs have you listened to and enjoyed? Let’s celebrate his legacy below.