Arrangers: Christian Gaubert; Paul Mauriat; Del Newman.
Although Charles Aznavour is considered by many American fans to be France's Neil Diamond, thanks to a rather misguided attempt by Reprise Records to cast him as a Middle-of-the-Road crooner in the '60s, in his native France he's a national treasure on par with Sinatra or Elvis. HIER ENCORE, an 18-track compilation of his classic French recordings--none of those Reprise-era English remakes--is a perfect introduction not only to Aznavour, but to all he represents.
A protege of famed singer Edith Piaf, Aznavour took the unique French chanson style and opened it to a wider range of influences while retaining its unique Gallic sensibility. As a result, many, if not most, of those who followed him remain in his debt. While more daring and rock-and-jazz-influenced singer/songwriters like Serge Gainsbourg may have a better reputation among the hipster crowd, without Charles Aznavour, they may well not have existed.