Charles Aznavour

Charles Aznavour

Charles Aznavour

Charles Aznavour was a French musician born to Armenian immigrants in Paris. Acclaimed as one of greatest singers of all time and a French pop deity, Aznavour rose to prominence in the 1960s with his distinctive vibrato and tender lyrics, dwelling on love and loss.

Aznavour’s upbringing captured cosmopolitan influences. His parents, members of the Armenian diaspora, were born in Georgia, and his father spoke Yiddish, Russian and Armenian. In Paris, where his father ran a small Armenian restaurant, the family lived amongst the Jewish community of the Marais - where the restaurant served as a haunt for bohemians and musicians.


Aznavour’s musical education was eclectic. His semi-professional singer father taught Aznavour songs in Russian, Jewish, Gypsy, Italian and Armenian. He felt drawn to popular American music and later Arab, Iranian and Spanish music. The diverse influences lent his voice a raspy nasal colour and Mediterranean quality with global appeal.


As Aznavour observed: “I have North African followers because my voice also has something of the muezzin. It’s an Eastern voice. I have an Eastern voice and a Western way of writing songs...I think Jews like my voice because it has a bit of the cantor...Not that I have a particular musical style. In fact, I don’t think there is a French musical style. The rhythms have always come from abroad — tango, rock, jazz, samba, bossa nova. Perhaps only the French accordion is special.’’




1. La Bohème (1968), Live in Montmartre, Paris
2. Heir Encore (1964)
3. Emmenez-Moi (1968), Live in Montmartre, Paris
4. Les Plaisirs Démodés (1973), Live for ORTF
5. Non, Je N’Ai Rien Oublié (1973)



Charles Aznavour in a suit

Charles Aznavour in a coat

Charles Aznavour in sunglasses

An older Charles Aznavour in an airport