Saturday, May 30, 2009

20 years old

Someone has recently emailed me the above video and I can' t help watching it again and again.. This video is an irresistible combination of dramatic song, great performer, and smart staging.

The song is well-known both in its original french form ("Hier encore , j'avais vingt ans") and in the english version ("Yesterday, when I was young") and deeply touches every listener that was once 20 years old.

The 85 years old singer, Charles Aznavour, dressed in black - sharp contrast to his white hair - mourns the foolish waste of his young years. Helping him with this are two tall beauties on high heels and in mini dresses who, I guess, are a symbol of youth with all its vanity and carelessness . The stage background looks vivid and cheerful as opposed to the sad words of the song . The moist eyes of the two boys in the audience, and the... moaning of Aznavour make it all very emotional. The bottom line of the song is "Je gache ma vie" meaning I wasted my life. (Aznavour, BTW did very well in his life).

Here are a few 'pearls" from the song (free translation) :

"I played with my life as one plays with Love", " The projects I planned were built on air",' "My eyes were looking for the sky, but my heart missed the earth", "Every conversation concerned itself with me, not beyond that","I wasted my time on follies that left me with nothing but a few wrinkles and fear of boredom", "My loves were dead even before they existed, my friends are gone and will not return", "I've created a void around me", ' I wasted my life and my young years".

"Where are they now my twenty years?"


  1. It's a sad and lovely song. I'm not a fan of the glitzy staging or the nervous camera work. I will say, however, that the colors remind me of the 70's when purple, orange, and yellow perhaps the youth he is mourning for was the post-political activist days when people stopped thinking about the world's problems because they didn't want negative vibes in their lives. Maybe he's saying that's when it all went wrong.

  2. Duta, I know this song so well in English. I wonder how many people understand this and how many do not because their life was filled meaningfully.


  3. TallTchr,
    I agree with you about the sad and lovely.
    You're probably right also about the'glitzy staging'and the post political activity.. I just don't know much about the political aspect of things or the colors of the 70's.

    All I know is that Aznavour has a song for evertything and everyone. You name it, he has it. And I kind of like his songs. BTW, his songs were translated into many languages, inclusive English, of course.

  4. Lorna,
    This song is not a new song. It has been around for quite a long time, and its lyrics are known in many countries.
    Now Aznavour is on a Farewell Tour around the world and the old songs get a new face, new inerpretaion.
    I think many people understand the song. They weep on hearing it and they become great admirers of Aznavour.

  5. Hi Duta :) I left you a comment and for some reason it didn't strange.
    This is a beautiful song and video. Thanks for sharing it! I think we can all take these words to heart and always remember to appreciate the moments we are given and fill them with the truly important things in life; love, friendship, family, nature...
    Thank you, Duta!

  6. TheChikGeek,

    Thank you Kelly. My pleasure. I've noticed Aznavour sings here to a young audience, and that's very important. When one's young one thinks in terms of Time is infinite, the Sky is the limit , and things like that. Well the song gives them a chance to think it over.

  7. "Every conversation concerned itself with me, not beyond that" I think every generation is the same in their youth no matter the language we speak. Its not until we mature that we are able to fully reflect on what we've done,where we've been and what we wished we'd changed. Like TheChikGeek said, we need to appreciate the moments and fill our lives with the truly important things. Great post, Duta. You are full of insight.

  8. Lisa,
    Thank you for your kind and clever words.

    Indeed,as you so well put it " It's not until we mature that we are able to fully reflect on what we've done......"

  9. Wow!!!
    Even though I dont audibly understand a word he's singing, his amazing voice gives me goose bumps...he's so good!!!

    Thanks for sharing Duta!

  10. Yes, Ron. He's both a great composer and performer. Now, at his advanced age , he sounds even better than when he was young. Besides, the girls are doing most of the 'word' job, so he's free to choose for himself the stronger lines and concentrate on face mimics and...moaning which add quite a lot to the message of the song.

  11. This was beautiful! We know so little when young compared to when older, but that is the way of life...a learning process.

  12. PeacefulWmn9,

    Indeed,life is a learning process, sometimes an usuccessful one. Yet, there are many of us people who say they have no regrets, and that they wouldn't have it any other way.