FROM THE ARCHIVE 301 -1970-

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Yesterday When I Was Young is another song from the Something Album.
Music and original French lyrics written by Charles Aznavour.
English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer.

Live recordings have been released on the albums:

Live In Japan 1974
Live In Japan 1977
The Birthday Concert

The album has been re-released digitally remastered on CD and this song is available on many CD Collections too.

This song was originally released 1964 in French as “Hier Encore” by the French composer, singer, actor and entertainer Charles Aznavour on his LP “Charles Aznavour – Que c’est triste Venise”. In 1968 it appeared again on his LP “Face au public”. In 1969 he received the Vermeil medal of the town of Paris for this song and also an American composers prize, because in the meantime the song had been translated into English. The English title “Yesterday When I Was Young” 1969 reached position number nine in the country charts, performed by Roy Clark.

Charles Aznavour was born in Paris in 1924 as Chahnour Varenagh Aznavourian. His family came from Armenia. His father sometimes worked as singer, and his mother as actress. Due to this he had his stage and screen debut at the age of nine. He has a raspy voice because of a paralyzed vocal cord, but in part with the help of Edith Piaf, he found his style and overcame his fears. He wrote songs, some of which were performed by Edit Piaf then. Almost all of Aznavour’s compositions deal with love and have first been considered tame, but at the end of the 1950’s came his breakthrough, and his songs and his limited but very expressive singing style became popular. Charles Aznavour is renowned the world over until today for his songs and his singing, and he’s even something like the “quintessential French pop-culture icon”.

Herbert Kretzmer, who penned the English lyrics to this song, was born 1925 in South Africa. He began with journalism, but then wrote successful lyrics for songs of George Martin and others. He wrote book and lyrics for some musicals, but his biggest success came with the musical “Les Misérables” for which he was responsible for the lyrics.

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Above the Studio version and below a live version from 1989 with the writer of this wonderful song: Charles Aznavour.

 

Lyrics:

Yesterday
When I was young
The taste of life was sweet
As rain upon my tongue
I teased at life as if
It were a foolish game
The way the evening breeze
May tease a candle flame

The thousand dreams I dreamed
The splendid things I planned
I always built alas
On weak and shifting sand
I lived by night and shunned
The naked light of the day
And only now I see
How the years ran away

Yesterday
When I was young
So many lovely songs
Were waiting to be sung
So many wayward pleasures
Lay in store for me
And so much pain
My dazzled eyes refused to see

I ran so fast that time
And youth at last ran out
I never stopped to think
What life was all about
And every conversation
I can now recall
Concerned itself with me
And nothing else at all

Yesterday
The moon was blue
And every crazy day
Brought something new to do
I used my magic age
As if it were a wand
And never saw the waste
And emptiness beyond

The game of love I played
With arrogance and pride
And every flame I lit
Too quickly, quickly died
The friends I made all seemed
Somehow to drift away
And only I am left
On stage to end the play

There are so many songs
In me that won’t be sung
I feel the bitter taste
Of tears upon my tongue
The time has come for me
To pay for yesterday
When I was young

Yesterday
When I was young
So many lovely songs
Were waiting to be sung
So many wayward pleasures
Lay in store for me
And so much pain
My dazzled eyes refused to see

Yesterday
When I was young
So many lovely songs
Were waiting to be sung
So many wayward pleasures
Lay in store for me
And so much pain
My dazzled eyes refused to see

Yesterday
When I was young
So many lovely songs
Were waiting to be sung

(Transcribed by Roman)

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