#art/#history: i know he was 94, but i wasn't expecting him to go yet. just last year, charles the great was still touring the world (& i missed my chance to see him in london). i also know that he was imperfect. fallible is as humans do...or somesuch thing as that. this legend was born in paris to armenian parents. despite this, in a recent interview, he supported a points system migration policy for france. he was also a tax exile in switzerland. 'short & ugly with no talent for singing' (according to early critics), charles was, nonetheless, a bit of a ladies' man. he was married three times & is said to have had dalliances with some of his duetting partners - amongst whom, liza minnelli & miss piggy! the good stuff, though, in addition to his roles in 'tirez sur la pianiste' & 'the tin drum', are his nearly 70 years of song. he wrote of broken people, loss, disintegrating relationships, daughters...& drag queens. 'aznavour pour l'armenie' is the charity that he founded to assist the tens of thousands of people displaced by the 1988 spitak earthquake. he's also been a vocal opponent of the far right national front & he's championed the fight against anti-piracy laws, saying: 'if the youth can't make a living through creative work, they will do something else and the artistic world will be dealt a blow...there will be no more songs, no more books, nothing at all.' on top of all this, he appeared on the 'muppet show' in 1976 & reeled off the most stonking version of 'inchworm' you ever did or ever will hear.
it's insulting that he's known in the anglo world as 'the french frank sinatra'. charles aznavour - who died today - had something altogether more compelling.