It was with deep regret that today I learned of the death of Charles Aznavour. This is a singer who has travelled with me through life, always just singing the right song at the right time.
I remember the first time I actually saw him on stage. It was at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1967. This was a special treat for me for my birthday. And then later in 1970, we saw him again at L’Olympia in Paris.
In 1970 he topped the singles chart in the UK for several weeks with his rendition of She, but I prefer the Frech version – click here to see and hear him sing in French.
But my favourite Aznavour song has always been and will remain Yesterday When I Was Young. I used his song as the basis for a post in March 2011 at the beginning of my blogging adventure. If you are interested, here’s the link.
What is not so well known is that Aznavour took an active part in his family’s efforts to hide Jews in Paris, risking their lives under the German occupation. In fact, he received a humanitarian award with his sister from Israel’s President Rivlin. At the award ceremony, he reportedly said, ‘We have so many things in common, the Jews and the Armenians, in misfortune, in happiness, in work, in music, in the arts and in the ease of learning different languages and becoming important people in the countries where they have been received.’
From its inception, Aznavour lent his name and his energy to the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. This organisation was launched on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviours.In his memory, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will launch a new annual scholarship as part of the Gratitude Scholarship Program.
So Rest In Peace Maestro. You will be greatly missed by many.