I remember three record albums featuring French songs that I bought through the club. One was an album by Diane Warwick, who had performed at the Olympia music hall in Paris with the French singer Sasha Distel. She sang La Vie en Rose and C'est si bon, among other songs (most of them American). Another was an album recorded by The Singing Nun, known also as Sœur Sourire, who was Belgian and sang in French. Her biggest hit was the song called Dominique ('nique, 'nique). The third album I remember was a collection of songs written and performed by Charles Aznavour.
In 2003, when Walt and I moved from San Francisco to Saint-Aignan, I decided to get rid of all my old LPs. They were heavy and had been played so many times that they sounded kind of scratchy. I hated to throw them into the trash. I had several hundred albums and I still had a turntable, but I'd been buying music on CDs for years by then. For most of my favorite vinyl LPs, I ended up buying new copies on CD. In January 2003, we had a big "garage sale" and I sold (basically gave away) a few of my albums, but most people weren't interested.
That spring, I loaded all the LPs into the trunk of my car and drove to used record stores all around the city to see if anybody would want them. I found out that the records I owned had been were not considered rare or unusual. Anybody who was a vinyl album enthusiast already had them. The record stores weren't interested. I didn't want to sell the albums, necessarily — I just didn't want to throw them into the garbage can. To tell you the truth, I don't remember what I finally did with them. I do remember that I sold the turntable to a kid who was thrilled to have it.
Here's an example of Aznavour's singing from YouTube
One of the albums I was never able to find on CD was Charles Aznavour's. Ever since I let go of his record, I've regretted it. I don't exactly remember, but I might have thought that I'd surely be able to find it on CD once I got to France. For years, I bought Charles Aznavour CDs that had included some or even most of the songs I remembered. The problem was, the songs were always different arrangements of the old songs. They didn't sound right. By the way, I never managed to see a live performance by Aznavour.
Aznavour recorded dozens and dozens of albums over the course of his long career. He was not immediately successful in France back when he started performing and recording in the 1950s and '60s, so I suppose he re-did songs to try to make them more appealing. They weren't more appealing to me, however. I liked the arrangements, the tempo, the sound of Aznavour's voice, and the phrasings on the songs I had listened to since about 1964. I didn't want "new and improved" versions. I finally gave up hope of ever finding them again.
And then when his death was announced on Monday, I had one more look at Amazon's French web site to see what albums of his were available. And there it was! At least I felt sure it was the same album, even though I didn't recognize the cover art. All the old songs — I could listen to them on the Amazon site — sounded right. I could download them all — the whole album — for the princely sum of 2.59 euros. Wow. I of course downloaded it immediately. In five minutes' time, I had all songs on my hard disk and I quickly integrated them into our iTunes music database. And I listened to them. You can do the same here: Et Voici.......Aznavour.