Untold Stories
On December 12, 1960, Charles Aznavour managed to conquer the public once and for all. This exceptional concert triumph became the starting point of his worldwide fame.

Famous music producer Eddie Barclay, a man with serious connections in Paris, organized a big concert at the Alhambra. Charles Aznavour was accompanied by Paul Mauriat and his orchestra. Eddie Barclay invited the most eminent people of that era: Jean Cocteau, Dalida, Louis Armstrong, Juliette Greco... All of Paris was present there.

Charles often recalled that special evening when the audience accepted the first seven songs performed by him with unusual coldness. He then sang the last song, "Je m'voyais déjà", about an ambitious but failed artist.
At the end of the performance, the spotlights were turned on the audience: there was no applause. Behind the scenes, Charles was ready to give up...

When he stepped onto the stage to give one last bow, to his surprise and excitement the audience met him with ovations. It was the recognition and victory he had been waiting for so long...
From the memoirs of a soldier.
In Nazi-controlled Paris in the midst of World War II, the Aznavour family launched a covert operation to save Armenians and Jews who had unwittingly joined the German army.

In those days, Misha Aznavour, Charles's father, had undertaken some dangerous action with Armenian "volunteers" from the German army. First, he made sure through daily conversations and jokes that the soldiers were real Armenians. He asked them to sing, to talk about their villages of origin, so that he could clearly distinguish whether the soldiers who knew Armenian from birth or they had learned it in special schools where the Nazis trained their agents. In addition, Misha was doing it in the restaurant "Raffi", where he worked and therefore served German officers often seated at neighboring tables.

After completing the "investigation," Misha was making it clear to the Armenian soldiers that he could help them escape. Usually the boys would consent very quickly, and Misha would meet them in a safe place after the restaurant was closed, then take them home.
Suren Kojoyan was one of those Armenian soldiers saved by the Aznavours, a young lieutenant who had joined the Soviet army. He had been seriously wounded and captured by the Germans in 1942.
Then he was taken to a concentration camp, where he was offered to join the Armenian Legion of the Nazi Army, thus escaping death.
As part of the German army, Kojoyan arrived in Paris, where he heard other Armenians talk about Misha Aznavour and his activities at the “Raffi” restaurant.

As it was his only hope of escaping the Nazis, he immediately went to the restaurant, where he met Misha himself. After making a secret deal, they said goodbye to each other.
Subsequently, Mélinée Manouchian and Aïda, Charles' sister, met Suren at the agreed place, they took him by the arm and asked to laugh out loud regularly so that their meeting did not seem strange or suspicious. This is how Kojoyan found himself in the house of the Aznavours, where new survivors gathered every day.

The next day he joined the Resistance movement and was transferred to a special hiding place, from where he took part in operations. A few weeks later, however, the Germans discovered the hideout. They arrested Suren and took him to Fresnes prison, from where he was released only after the liberation of France.

A few months later, he returned to Paris to visit the Aznavours. The family greeted him with great surprise, as everyone was sure Suren had been killed when the hiding place was discovered.

When the time came for Suren to return to Armenia, Aïda Aznavour gave him this photo of her as a sign of their friendship.*

*This story is a testament to how the Aznavours risked their own lives to save dozens more.

Suren Kojoyan's story and the photo were shared by his grandson, political scientist Edgar Vardanyan. Edgar will publish a book on the war based on the manuscripts and memoirs of his grandfather.

William Saroyan about Charles Aznavour
William Saroyan once said:
William Saroyan was a famous Armenian-American novelist, playwright, and short story writer.

He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1944 won the Academy Award (Oscars) for the Best Story for the film The Human Comedy.

When I turn on the radio, and from far faraway hear Aznavour's songs, I think to myself: "Well done brother, you also won, you are a great and unbreakable Armenian...
Armenian Salad by Charles Aznavour
Did you know that Frank Sinatra liked cooking a lot and even published cookbooks wit detailed recipes. Today we want to share with you an exclusive recipe from his book:

"The Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook: Barbara, Frank & Friends"
I hope my broken English will be understandable to the readers of your cookbook, and they will also like my simple recipe.
This book was Frank’s and his wife Barbara’s initiative and all the money from the revenue were transferred to children hospital. Frank asked his celebrity friends to contribute to the book and one of them was Charles Aznavour.

Here is Charles Aznavour’s comment to his own recipe:
George Garvarentz, Frank Sinatra and Charles Aznavour

  • 1/3 chicken breast, skinless and boneless,
  • a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup butter or olive oil
  • 2/3 pound tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound sour apples
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 chopped bunches of lettuce

Cooking method:

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and fry in butter (oil) for a few minutes.
  2. Add a little water and simmer until tender, covered with a lid.
  3. Allow to cool completely and cut into thin slices.
  4. Tomatoes must be peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes.
  5. Peel the apples, cut into cubes.

For dressing, use:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon of onion and celery salt, finely chopped bunch of parsley, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of cognac (brandy). Mix all ingredients.
  • Combine tomatoes, apples, eggs, lettuce, and chicken. Add the dressing and place on a serving plate.
Armenian chicken salad
Aznavourians and Missak Manouchian*
The Aznavour family had a beautiful tradition of spending their weekends in the Boulogne Forest. Other Armenians also gathered there. Misha Aznavourian was always singing, turning ordinary rest into a real party. Missak and Melinée Manouchian, who were close friends of the family, used to join those gatherings too.
* Missak Manouchian is an Armenian poet, one of the pioneers of the French Resistance movement, who was posthumously awarded the title of National Hero of France.

Missak Manouchian and his wife Melinée Manouchian participated in the Resistance movement, leading one of the movement's main groups. He was arrested many times during the struggle, but continued to fight with the same vigor.

In 1943, a group led by Manouchian organized about 30 successful attacks against the Nazis. Manouchian and many of his friends were arrested in November 1943 and executed by the Nazis on February 21, 1944.
Mischa Aznavourian
and Missak Manouchian
Missak Manouchian was the one who taught Charles Aznavour how to play chess, they would spend hours on the grass exploring the secrets of the game. Apparently, Manouchian was a good teacher, because even fifty years later Charles Aznavour still enjoyed playing chess, and often, before entering the stage, when the noise of the audience reached the backstage, he would close in the make-up room and open the chess box to concentrate. That box traveled around the world with him and became Aznavour's faithful companion, along with a dictionary of rhymes.

Duet Roche-Aznavour
The duo "Roche and Aznavour" was formed quite by accident on January 10, 1943 in a small concert hall in Presla.

The rising star of the evening was Pierre Roche, who was about to perform on stage with seven other artists, including Aida Aznavour (Charles' sister). Charles did not participate in that concert.

It was the tumultuous period of World War II. One of the artists had to leave suddenly, and Charles Aznavour simply replaced him.

Due to a mistake by the entertainer, Pierre Rocher and Charles Aznavour had to go on stage together and then improvise as a duet. This was the beginning of a creative collaboration and a wonderful friendship!

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