Ten years after his death, Wallonian singer Pierre Rapsat, the 1976 Belgian representative, is still regarded as one of Belgium’s greatest artists. On the occasion of the anniversary of his death a special best-of album was released and reached the top of the Belgian music charts in 2012 and is still doing well in the Wallonian Ultratop music charts reaching Gold status.
Pierre Rapsat started performing with various groups before launching a solo career in 1973. His musical style was eclectic, ranging from rock to chanson. In 1976, Rapsat’s self-composed song Judy et Cie was chosen to represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest held in The Hague. With its melancholic melody and lyrics, it was an unusual song for Eurovision at that time. The song ended the evening in 8th place and is often cited by Eurovision fans as being among Belgium’s best entries.
Pierre Rapsat’s first major success after his Eurovision experience came in 1982 with the album Lâchez les fauves which sold over 30,000 copies in Wallonia. The following albums also sold well, and marked the singer’s first success in France. He continued to release albums to critical acclaim in Belgium throughout the 1990s, although during this period his French success declined. It was not until the release of the album Dazibao in 2001 that he broke out of the Belgian market once again to enjoy widespread success in France, as well as in Switzerland and Luxembourg.
In 2001, Pierre Rapsat was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to cut down on live appearances while he underwent chemotherapy. He made his final live appearance at a concert in Ath on 1 March 2002. Pierre Rapsat died at his home inVervierson 20 April 2002, aged 53.
In 2005, the Belgian national broadcaster RTBF aired a special show called Le plus grand Belge (The Greatest Belgian) in which viewers were invited to cast their vote by Internet, SMS or telephone. Pierre Rapsat was voted into 51st place.