Arno, our rock icon is gone


The iconic Belgian singer Arno Hintjens passed away on 23 April at the age of 72, a victim of pancreatic cancer. A singer as well as an actor, he was occasionally compared to Alain Bashung or Tom Waits.

The man with the broken voice and the messy hair made it a speciality to produce original and offbeat covers of French classics, such as Les filles du bord de mer by Salvatore Adamo, Le Bon Dieu, by Jacques Brel, or Elisa, by Serge Gainsbourg. He found success with his group, TC Matic, and the songs Oh la la la, in1981, then Putain putain, in 1983, a title recently covered in a duet with Stromae. The group was even the opening act for Simple Minds in 1985.

In Brussels, a city of which he was an honorary citizen, the mayor regretted the fact that "We will no longer see his silhouette in the Sainte-Catherine district. Putain putain, we miss him already..." Arno claimed that there were no borders in his mind, he embodied a certain "belgitude", a union between north and south, European soul and poetry. When talking about his past, the singer declared that he has had "a wonderful life, I have travelled all over the world thanks to music, I take this happiness with me." He also appeared on screen alongside Nathalie Baye in the film 'Prejudice' released in 2015. It was Arno who wrote the soundtrack for the film "Merci la vie" by Bertrand Blier, in 1990. A suitable epitaph for this man who declared: "I've enjoyed life."