PARIS—The celebrated French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour marked his 90th birthday on Thursday. The legendary singer, songwriter, public activist, and, most recently, diplomat has written more than 800 songs, recorded more than 1,000 in French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish and sold over 100 million records in all.
Charles Aznavour was Born Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian on May 22, 1924, in Paris, the younger of two children born to Armenian immigrants, one of them, his mother, an Armenian Genocide survivor who fled to France.
Besides being one of France’s most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known French singers in the world. Aznavour is known for his unique tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes.
In 1998, Aznavour was named “Entertainer of the Century” by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. He was recognized as the century’s outstanding performer, with nearly 18 percent of the total vote, edging out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. He has sung for presidents, popes and royalty, as well as at humanitarian events, and is the founder of the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia along with his long-time friend Levon Sayan.
In 2009, Aznavour was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva. He recently started a new concert tour in 2014.
On the event of Aznavour’s birthday, Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian publicly congratulated the renowned singer, who is revered by Armenians around the world.
“You are a great artist, a great Armenian and a great person,” the President said in his message. “Each meeting with you is a great event for us. We are proud to be your contemporaries and to enjoy your presence, your songs and words.”
“I wish you – the most famous Armenian in the world – good health and many successes in your creative life, as well as in your social and political activities,” Sarkisian said.
Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian also extended his congratulations to Aznavour, praising him as a source of inspiration.
“Your creative work and patriotic ideals have inspired and fascinated millions of people from generation to generation,” Abrahamian said in a message to Charles Aznavour. “We are proud of you as an artist and an exceptional, great Armenian, who keeps up the reputation and honor of the Armenian people all over the world. You are one of the most inspiring figures of all time who is unconditionally loved by the Armenian people.”