He was born Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris, to Armenian parents who had fled persecution in Turkey and were staying in France while waiting for a US visa. By the time he was 11 years old, Aznavour was performing at the Theatre Marigny. Azvanour’s big break arrived when Piaf, who was a fan of his voice, invited him to accompany her on tour. He launched a solo career singing his own songs in 1950 and he had the ability to sing in more than six languages. He is one of the most celebrated exponents of the French “chanson” form – easy-listening songs with vivid lyrics, rich in storytelling, emotion and humour.
Charles Aznavour singing
Over his career he wrote more than 1,200 tracks, including “She”, which became famous. Other popular songs include “Toi Et Moi”, “La Mama” and “For Me Formidable”. He sold over 100 million records worldwide and starred in more than 60 films. Over the years he recorded duets with the likes of Sinatra, Elton John, Céline Dion, Bryan Ferry and Sting, as well as the classical tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo. He was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN in 1998, and was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted: “Charles Aznavour was profoundly French, deeply attached to his Armenian roots and known throughout the world. He has accompanied the joys and pain of three generations. His masterpieces, the tone of his voice, his unique radiance will long survive him.”