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One of the most sincere Belgian popmusicians who survived almost three decades with his romantic, joyful yet melancholic music. Perhaps the most talented of songwriters of them all.


"Ieder met zijn vlag"
57,1 sec. - 112 Kb.
song : Johan Verminnen
Year : 1970
Record co. : Klüger

"Laat me nu toch niet alleen"
49,8 sec. - 98 Kb.
song : Dan Lacksman, Johan Verminnen
Year : 1973
Record co. : Biram

64,2 sec. - 126 Kb.
song : Johan Verminnen
Year : 1976
Record co. : Biram

"Meneer Middelmaat"
58,6 sec. - 115 Kb.
song : Johan Verminnen
Produced : Jean Blaute
Year : 1983
Record co. : CNR

"Ik wil zo graag de wereld zien"
41,9 sec. - 82 Kb.
song & Prodution : Tars Lootens, Johan Verminnen
Year : 1986
Record co. : Biram

"De Zomer"
41,9 sec. - 82 Kb.
song & Prodution : Johan Verminnen, Bert Candries
Year : 1999
Record co. : BMG


Verminnen was the centerpoint of a bunch of musicians in Jette (Brussels) with a taste for blues music. Among the friends where Lamp & Lazarus (see Lamp & Lazarus), Erik Van Neygen, Jari de Meulemeester (who is the inspirator for Belgian's best music club Ancienne Belgique in Brussels) and many others. In the sixties he played briefly in a band called Burning Plague. He left the band soon afterwards and started a solo career.


Later he would say on this time : "My generation was incredibly arrogant. Me, Raymond van het Groenewoud, Arno ... we would learn the old-fashioned and muttering artists of the time that there also was something like the Stones and Robert Johnson. Or Mozart. To conquer the world, we wouldn't settle for less."

He was discovered in 1969 by Jean Klüger, boss of the record company Biram, who gave his pupil the chance to record a solo album in 1970. The relationship between Klüger and Verminnen would last more than 15 years, until the artist was dumped in 1984.

On his second record, he cooperated with Raymond Van Het Groenewoud, a shy boy who was introduced to the nightlife of Brussels and Amsterdam by Verminnen. The result was devastating. With this record, Verminnen also hit the jackpot. The beautiful song 'Laat me nu toch niet alleen' (Don't leave me now) became a huge hit and started off his musical career.

Van Het Groenewoud went off to form Louisette and his solo career, so Verminnen formed another band, consisting of Koen De Bruyne (brother of Kris de Bruyne), Nick Roland, Yvan De Souter and Firmin Timmermans (well known studio drummer and founder of the LSP-band). On his records of the seventies he would also get help from Jean-Marie Aerts (Tc Matic and producer), Jean Blaute (Kate's Kennel, RvhG) and Eric Melaerts (Soulsister, Yasmine, VTM).

A career in France never got fully of the ground, although his music is clearly inspired by French chanson.

The Flemish hits (note : he never made it to the Belgian Hitparades, but they were at least radio hits) kept coming : Daar gaat ze, Brussel ("a song he played in 101 ways, but never seems to lose"), Zaterdagavond, In de rue des bouchers (another ode to Brussels), Ik voel me goed ...
This last song (which means 'I feel so good') was very ironic : problems with his taxes had made him gone bankrupt in the early eighties.


Verminnen never lost his optimism, slimmed his group down and formed a duo with the talented piano virtuoso Tars Lootens. He broadened his musical horizon to Latin America ('t is Amor amor, Ik wil zo graag de wereld zien ...) and moved from Brussels to Sint-Martens Latem, the country town known for the many painters who live(d) there.

Verminnen has also been very active as a spokesperson for Belgian musical artists in respect to the regulations that the politicians impose on their means of living.

In 1993 he released "Zeven levens", a double CD trying to give an overview of the first 25 years of his career. He toured the country with a 15-man strong band to celebrate this event. Verminnen said he would take a step down after that : "I will continue to sing and play music, but on a more modest scale", he promised at the time.

In 1996 he tours the country (together with Dutchman Stef Bos) with a tribute program to Jacques Brel called "in the light of his shadow".

Other Belgian artists see Johan Verminnen as an artist who has merited a tribute himself. Juy Swinnen, Clouseau, Patrick Riguelle, Paul Michiels, Frank Vanderlinden, Roland and many other join their forces in "Spelers en drinkers" (players and drinkers - from a lyric of a Verminnen song) and play cover versions of the songs of the master. In 1997, Nekka-night - a concert evening devoted to Dutch sung pop music - was also a tribute to Verminnen who topped the bill.


As Johan said at the time of the release of his 1996 album "Suiker en zout" (sugar and salt) : "My boyhood dream was : singing. Now my dream is : singing with as much artistic freedom as possible. Maybe in the past I have tried a bit to much to follow the trends,  what others were doing. From now on, it's about what I wish again. Lately, I've been thinking again about a quote from Jacques Brel that I saw hanging in the Sabam-building : "I wish you many a dream, and hope you will realise some of them". I still have a few left in the closet for too long."

In 1999, Johan Verminnen celebrated his 30 years in the musicbizz with a retrospective release (Vroeger en Later) in combination with a new cd, recorded with the help of many Flemish musical artists (Kommil Foo, Laïs, Patrick Riguelle, Jo Lemaire, Roland, Big Bill, Kris De Bruyne, Stef Bos en Wannes Van de Velde). In the meantime, this mind-traveller is now also planning to travel around the world with Stef Bos.


In 2001 he first toured very soberly with Michel Bisceglia on piano ("Luistervinken", there was also a -very- limited edition with an impression from this tour sold at the concerts), but then Johan Verminnen chose another direction, as he went on the road with a big band (just as Jo Lemaire, coincidentally). With this program called "Swingen tot morgenvroeg" (swinging 'till the break of dawn, a wordplay with a song of his that was called "zingen tot morgenvroeg"), he premiered in September 2001.
In the same month, there was also an album with the same title and content, and a double celebration: 50 years of age, and 30 years on stage. Among the tracks, there was also a surprise duet with Raymond van het Groenewoud in his "Hallelujah, ze houdt van mij".
Johan Verminnen also made the headlines when he agreed to play the part of Captain Haddock in the musical "Kuifje en de Zonnetempel" (Tintin). As he sung himself in "Jongen van 50" : "Deze jongen van 50 - wil maar één ding - veel gevoel en veel swing, dus ik dans en ik zing. Deze jongen van 50 - waarvan houdt hij het meest, van het vieren van feest, blij om wat is geweest..."

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Albums :
- Johan Verminnen (Klüger, 1970)
- Stilte als refrein (Biram, 1973)
- Elle chante na na na (Biram, 1974)
- Live (Biram, 1977)
- Als mijn gitaar me helpt (Biram, 1979)
- Ik voel me goed (Biram, 1981)
- Tweemaal woordwaarde (Biram, 1983)
- Melancholie (Biram, 1984)
- Traag is mooi (RCA, 1987)
- Mooie dagen (Ariola, 1989)
- Volle maan (Ariola, 1991)
- Zeven levens (Ariola, 1993)
- Alles leeft (Ariola, 1994)
- Suiker en zout (Ariola, 1996)
- Marin d'eaux douces (Ariola, 1998)
- Vroeger en Later (BMG, 1999)
- Swingen tot Morgenvroeg (BMG, 2001)

Websites :
- review of "Vroeger en Later".
- Report of the Nekka-night with a tribute to Johan Verminnen (Dutch only).
- Bespreking van het programma "Luistervinken" bij Kkunst
- Interview met het Leuvense studentenweekblad Veto
- Pagina's over Verminnen bij Click2Music (platenfirma BMG), met concertagenda
- Interview met het Brusselse tijdschrift Wablieft

Forum :
- Lees de berichten over Johan Verminnen
- Voeg een bericht, vraag, cd- of concertverslag ... over Johan Verminnen toe



Johan Verminnen

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