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.
I’m sorry to hear that, Judith. He’s one of my favourite’s too.
He was an amazing man. Not only as a singer/songwriter but also supporting Jews and Armenians
I enjoyed his voice. I had no idea he and his family were so brave to help protect their Jewish countrymen So many singers have passed that we enjoyed in our lives. What a gift to share. Thank you for shining a light on his life.
I think there were many people, quite well known now, who acted against the Nazis.
Love the French version, too, even though I don’t speak it. Thanks for an inspiring “listen” this evening. What a man. Was not aware of him before.
Hello Lois and how are you? Both my late husband andI loved his music, and when Robert died, Aznavour’s voice kept me company is the long, lonely hours.