Ten great Charles Aznavour songs to Frenchify your life

In this week’s podcast episode of The Earful Tower, I recommended listening to Charles Aznavour if you want to improve your French.

But who is Charles Aznavour?

He’s an Armenian/French singer who released 1,200 songs in nine languages. He’s one of the best-selling artists of all time, was “discovered” by Edith Piaf, and when Bob Dylan saw him live in London in the sixties, Dylan said “he just blew my brains out”.

When Aznavour died in 2018, he was honoured with a state funeral at Les Invalides in Paris, and President Macron said was “one of France’s faces”. He added that Aznavour “made our life sweeter, our tears less bitter”. His coffin was carried away to perhaps my favourite song of all, Emmenez-Moi, sung by the military choir. Watch the clip below but beware: It’s quite a sad and moving moment.

Back to the podcast episode. While offering 13 tricks to speaking better French, I suggested people quote from the Aznavour song For Me Formidable (which is half in English, half in French, and full of wordplay).

Then someone emailed and asked: What are some other good Aznavour songs?

Well never fear, I made a Spotify playlist with my favourite ten songs from the great man. All of these songs have a particularly special meaning for me, and you’ve very likely to find them as background music on my Instagram stories. (Hope you’re following)

Take a listen, and let me know what I missed in the comments below.

The List: Ten Great Aznavour Songs

Lastly, for Patreon members, this week we released a special list of our favourite French songs. Unlock it, and 238 other members-only posts, by signing up here.

Here’s the podcast episode, btw. Please hit follow!

PS: While I’m a huge fan of Aznavour, I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. I would have loved to have interviewed him for the podcast, but the closest I ever got was his wax statue at the Musée Grévin (below)!

5 thoughts on “Ten great Charles Aznavour songs to Frenchify your life

  1. J’aime Paris au Moi de Mai, Les Comédiens, Désormais et Tous s’en Va are also good. But Emmenez-moi is my favorite. My French Conversation teacher and I had an argument about that song. She said it must be a love song and I said it was about a man who longed to travel.

  2. J’en suis d’accord avec #5. Mon préféré après la Bohème- J’habite seule avec maman, dans un très vieil appartement, rue Sarasate…

  3. “Etre” d’Aznavour : une de ses chansons les plus énigmatiques, la plus belle pour moi sans doute, la plus poétique, la plus difficile certes, la plus déchirante pour l’âme surtout, écrite d’un trait pratiquement sans refrain, pour la série TV “la lumière des justes”, que regardait ma mère, et moi, alors gamin dans les années 80, qui attendais le générique et cette voix envoûtante. Des moments et des temps qui marquent à jamais…


  4. There is a film that recently debuted (“Des regards d’Aznavour”) which was s comprised of allthe film Aznavour took during his travels. Now to find it streaming somewhere in the US!

  5. I was smitten by Charles Aznavour once I saw Shoot the Piano Player. At college, George Washington University (1967-1969) i slipped into an auditorium (on campus??) where he was rehearsing for a concert, and watched inconnu, hiding behind seats in the balcony. Summer of 1967 or 1969 he was en vacances in Sardinia (Costa Smeralda). i was working there (Pedros) and his limo passed our distraught auto on the side of the road.. Que C’est Triste Venise is also great…so many memories. I have both vinyl and CD. Temps perdu.

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