Charles Aznavour is a French-born Armenian singer, songwriter, actor and diplomat. He has many awards and honors, but the most important one for him, as he says, is to be awarded as a National Hero of Armenia. Find out more about Charles Aznavour through his songs, concerts and biography here.
There can hardly be found an Armenian, who doesn’t know Charles Aznavour. There can hardly be found an Armenian, who doesn’t love Charles Aznavour as well. National hero of Armenia, philanthropist, patriot and just a gifted person – this is how Armenians describe Aznavour.
At the age of 92, Charles Aznavour still writes music, sings and even tours. His last tour finished just a few months ago and he has already scheduled concert list for his tour around the world in 2016-2017. Isn’t this amazing?
Charles Aznavour: Biography
To put Aznavour’s biography into a few paragraphs is almost impossible. He is a man, who lived his life to the fullest, there has been rises and falls, happiness and tragedy, all of this inspired him to tell his life, his emotions and feelings through the music he created during his whole life.
Let’s just do a quick review of Charles Aznavour’s life. He was born in Paris in an Armenian immigrants’ family. Aznavour showed his interest and talent in music since he was a child, but his career rise wasn’t until Edith Piaf discovered him in 1946. At first, he worked as an assistant to Piaf, later she helped him to launch his own career.
During many years of his career Charles Aznavour sang along the biggest stars of the century in many concerts: Édith Piaf, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Andrea Bocelli, Bing Crosby, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan (he named Aznavour among the greatest live performers he’s ever seen), Liza Minnelli, Elton John, Dalida, Serge Gainsbourg, Josh Groban, Petula Clark, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, José Carreras, Laura Pausini, Nana Mouskouri, Julio Iglesias, Mireille Mathieu, etc.
Talking about his close relationship with Liza Minnelli, Aznavour once said.
Along with the singing career, Charles Aznavour was also perusing his acting career. He appeared in more than 60 movies.
Charles Aznavour: A Patriot and Philanthropist
There is so much that Aznavour did for Armenia. But there are some things that should be highlighted. This particularly refers to humanitarian help after the tragic Spitak earthquake in 1988.
Right after the earthquake Charles Aznavour wrote a song called “Pour toi Arménie” (translated as “For you, Armenia”). He gathered all the top singers in France and recorded the song. The song hit the charts and stayed there for eighteen weeks. All the money raised, was given to the charity for helping those, who suffered because of the earthquake.
People of Gyumri, the city that was affected by the earthquake the most, were so grateful to Aznavour, that they placed his statue in the city center.
Aznavour is also Armenia’s ambassador in Switzerland, he is a permanent delegate of Armenia in UNESCO.
Charles Aznavour’s visits to Armenia are quite often, but there is a date when he is always in Armenia. That is April 24th, the day of the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Every single year, Aznavour comes to Tsitsernakaberd to put flowers by the eternal fire.
Songs by Charles Aznavour
Over the years, Charles Aznavour wrote hundreds of songs and most of them became hits. He sings in different languages, but most of his songs are about love. Let’s take a look at just a few of his most popular songs.
Charles Aznavour Song #1: She
The song was initially written for British TV series, called “Seven Faces of Woman”. It was released in 1974. This song was a huge success in UK, it stayed N1 in charts for weeks.
Later Aznavour recorded the song in French, Italian, German, Spanish. This song is one of the most covered songs of all time. It has been sung by Elvis Priestly, Laura Pausini and other artists.
Charles Aznavour Song #2: La Bohème
Aznavour wrote this song with Jacques Plante, who is another famous French songwriter. “La Bohème” is considered to be Aznavour’s signature song. It was recorded in 1965 and topped N1 in charts, shortly after the release.
Aznavour translated the sing into English, German, Spanish and Italian. As many others of his songs, this one has also been coved by many famous and popular singers.
Charles Aznavour Song #3: Hier Encore
“Hier Encore” in English means “Only Yesterday”. The song was released in 1964. As most of Charles Aznavour’s songs, “Hier Encore” was also translated into other languages (Japanese, Spanish, Italian, English).
The most famous translated version of the song is the English one, it’s called “Yesterday, when I was young”. The song has been performed by Elton John, Julio Iglesias, Patricia Kaas and dozens other artists.
Charles Aznavour Song #4: Une Vie d’amour
Aznavour wrote this song along with Georges Garvarentz. It has been sung as a duet with Mireille Mathieu. The song was written for the movie “Tehran 43” (USSR) in 1981. “Une Vie d’amour” was a huge success in USSR and even today it is considered number one love song in Russian.
Everyone, young and adult love and sing this song. It was even translated into Russian and Chinese. Almost every singer in Russia has sung this song, at least once in his/her career.
Charles Aznavour Song #5: Je me voyais déjà
“Je me voyais déjà” (translated as “I could already see myself”) is the first song in the self-titled album, which was released in 1961. It is considered to be the launch of his career. The song is about an artist’s dreams of glory.
Even though Aznavour started his career earlier, in late in 1950s he still didn’t really fit in the standards of French stage. His voice, not very attractive appearance were not considered suitable for French stage those days.
Many people thought, that the song was written about him, but it was not. According to the singer, he was inspired by a Belgian artist, who he met in Brussels. The artist would wear blue suit and give everything he could on stage, but the audience wouldn’t accept him.
Aznavour wrote this song the evening after he met that man. Later, when he came back to France, he offered it to Yves Montand, who refused to sing the pre-text about the artist.
Eventually Charles Aznavour decided to perform the song and on December 12, 1960 he first sang it to Alhambra. After the performance, the audience gave him a standing applause. This is exactly how the huge success of his career began.
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