Charles Aznavour

Il Faut Savoir

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Recorded in the mid-'60s and reissued in 1996 as part of EMI/Angel's series of Aznavour classics, IL FAUT SAVOIR captures arguably the finest male singer in French pop history at the peak of his immense abilities. Coming both stylistically and chronologically between older pop crooners like Maurice Chevalier and younger, rock and roll-influenced artists like Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Dutronc, Charles Aznavour is possibly easiest described as the Frank Sinatra of France.

Though these 18 tracks are sung in French, Aznavour's commanding, jazz-inflected voice holds more than a hint of world-weariness. The rueful edge it adds to such songs as "J'ai Tort" and "Les Comediens" comes through even if one doesn't understand the language. Like many singers of the era, Aznavour later re-recorded many of his '60s hits in "updated" arrangements for other companies, but these are the original, superior versions.

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