28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The best of his English language music,
This review is from: She: the Best of Charles Aznavour (Audio CD)
Charles Aznavour was slow to achieve success even in his native France. Born in 1924, he was already in his thirties when he gained recognition. There have been many compilations of his French recordings and they are well worth a listen, but this set focuses on his English language recordings. One track (I didn't see the time go by) is from 1983 while the rest were recorded between 1971 and 1978. Charles never recorded covers – the song here titled Ave Maria is his own song, not the standard. He wrote all his own material in French though he sought help in translating his songs into English. As he once said, songs are hard to translate if you still want them to rhyme in a different language.
Understandably, Charles never made the same impact in Britain and America that he did in France, but he was very popular for a few years in both countries, with hugely successful live concerts in both countries in the sixties. He had just two UK hits – The old fashioned way (1973) and She (1974), the latter going all the way to number one. This was a rare achievement for a French record though Charles was not the first Frenchman to top the UK charts. Serge Gainsbourg did it in 1969 with Je T'aime moi non plus, a duet with English born but French based Jane Birkin that was only made available in the UK because it had been banned in France.
Although his UK hits are classic love songs, Charles sang about many other topics too. It will be my day is about an unsuccessful, obviously inspired by his own struggle for success. They fell is about Armenia, a country that Charles was deeply interested in. But it is the love songs that Charles is best remembered for. Apart from She and The old fashioned way, Yesterday when I was young is probably the best-known song on this collection, but The happy days, How sad Venice can be, No I could never forget, You've got to learn, I didn't see the time go by and Ave Maria are among the many other great songs here.
Charles showed the world that France is well capable of producing world-class singer-songwriters – this collection provides but a small sample of his artistry.
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Initial post: 29 Jan 2016 13:22:04 GMT
Charles Aznavour was born in Armenia and his songs are much better in French. Unfortunately I can't find the album I'm looking for in French.
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