50,8 sec. - 100 Kb.
song : Mösser, N.Byl
Year : 1959
Record co. : Philips/Phonogram
Born in 1927 as Jo(sephine) Verbustel, she was a was a lively
teenager, but with a weak health. Her parents had to go to great length to finance
the finest doctors, but even when she went to art school, she had to interrupt
her studies because of polio.
It was in 1953 that she landed in the N.I.R. (national institute
for radio-transmission, the predecessor to the BRT). Slowly but surely she started
making a name for herself as a singer : in front of the orchestra's of Francis
Bay and Raymond Terby, she worked her way through all of the classics
and standards of the time. Her glory period as a singer happened from the middle
of the fifties until the middle of the sixties, amidst a generation of singers
such as La Esterella, Jetty Gitari, Will Ferdy and Bob
Hits she scored in the national charts were "Que
sera, sera" (just one month after Doris Day had her number one hit with
that song, Jo Leemans landed it on the same spot in a Dutch translation, in December
1956), "Heel mijn hart" (also n° 1, in 1957), "Lazarello (n°
11), "Marjoleintje" (n° 3), "Ik
ben verliefd op heel de wereld" (n° 13), and "Diep
in mijn hart" (n° 7 in 1960).
Other songs she mentions amidst her favourites are "Ware Liefde" (True
Love of Cole Porter), "Als sterren flonk'rend aan de hemel staan", "Weet
je nog wel, die avond in de regen" en "Lieve Jo" (Hold'em Joe).
Noteworthy is also that Jo Leemans once performed a version of
"Je t'aime, moi non plus", in a Dutch version with Jef Cassiers, but
instead of a cover of the juicy hot Gainsbourg/Birkin version, this was a cover
of the version that Fernandel did in France.
Together with her career as a singer, she developed a career as
a presenter on radio and television. As she said later : "in those days
we had to know everything: talk, sing, act, move, everything. We had to carry
the whole show, from the beginning to the end." In the beginning of the
seventies, she became a teacher in "repertoire, musical and jazz" at
"Studio Herman Teirlinck" in Antwerp. Although she directed three musicals,
she regrets never have done one herself "I was asked to do the role of
"Eliza Doolittle" in "My Fair Lady" in 1964, but my husband
held me from doing it when we saw that the production had to be ready in six months.
Later on I found out that was a good thing, because the musical ran here only
three months because of the severe winter that year. And I don't know if I would've
coped with it physically too"
In 1973, she left Flanders for Benidorm (Spain) for health reasons,
where she stayed until 1990 with three dogs and 32 cats. Upon return, she retook
her position on the radio, with "78-toeren tijd" and "De tafel
van Jo en Jo" (with Jo de Poorter on Stubru), but also on television, with
a role in the VTM-comedy "Benidorm", a number of panels and a place
in the soap "Familie". She is still well-known and respected throughout
Buy CD's of this band at
- Que Sera Sera (LP, Philips/Phonogram, 1982)
- Het Beste van Jo Leemans (CD, Philips/Phonogram, 1990)
- Het Beste van (CD, 1998)
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