Charles Aznavour is a French, later naturalised Armenian, singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Aznavour is known for his unique tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. He has written over 1300 songs and recorded over 1,400, sung in eight languages and sold more than 180 million records.
He is one of France’s most popular and enduring singers. He has been dubbed France’s Frank Sinatra, while music critic Stephen Holden has described Aznavour as «French pop deity.» He is also arguably the most famous Armenian of his time. 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% 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. In response to the 1988 Armenian earthquake, he founded the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia along with his long-time friend impresario Levon Sayan. In 2009, he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva.Aznavour is the longest standing “A list” star, still filling major venues all over the world. He started his most recent tour in 2014.
Since the 1988 Armenian earthquake, Aznavour has been helping the country through his charity, Aznavour for Armenia. Together with his brother in-law and co-author Georges Garvarentz he wrote the song «Pour toi Arménie», which was performed by a group of famous French artists and topped the charts for eighteen weeks. There is a square named after him in central Yerevan on Abovian Street, and a statue erected in Gyumri, which saw the most lives lost in the earthquake. In 1995 Aznavour was appointed an Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Armenia to UNESCO. Aznavour is a member of the Armenia Fund International Board of Trustees. The organization has rendered more than $150 million in humanitarian aid and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia since 1992. He was appointed as «Officier» (Officer) of the Légion d’honneur in 1997. In 2004 Aznavour received the title of National Hero of Armenia, Armenia’s highest award. On 26 December 2008, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan signed a presidential decree for granting citizenship for the Republic of Armenia to Aznavour whom he called a «prominent singer and public figure» and «a hero of the Armenian people».
In 2011 the Charles Aznavour Museum opened in Yerevan, Armenia.
In April, 2016 Aznavour visited Armenia to participate in the Aurora Prize Award ceremony. On 24 April, along with Serzh Sargsyan, the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Garegin II and actor George Clooney, he laid flowers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial.