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Aznavour, Charles (originally Varenagh Aznavourian)

singer tender american

Aznavour, Charles (originally Varenagh Aznavourian), b. Paris, May 22, 1924. Armenian by decent, Parisian by birth, Aznavour typifies the European lounge singer, the guy whose hard drinking and chain smoking conceals a tender underbelly. Azvanour began to forge his tough-but-tender persona as a singer in the 1950s, drawing on French vocalists and American stars like Frank Sinatra, and he cemented the corresponding visuals—the cigarette, the melancholy visage—in such films as Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player . His suave sentimentality has influenced a wide range of American performers, ranging from Tom Waits to Leonard Cohen; Aznavour was even mentioned in “11 Outlined Epitaphs,” the liner notes to Bob Dylan’s 1964 Times They Are A-Changin’ LP. In addition to writing two books, Aznavour has continued to record and act regularly—one of his most winning performances came in the 1985 television show Children’s Songs & Stories with the Muppets, which found the veteran performer playing alongside Jim Henson’s popular felt creatures.

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