Az­navour’s way with words

The Week - - News | People -

“I am not a love god,” in­sists Charles Az­navour. The man who wrote She, still croon­ing at 94, claims he hasn’t “been in love more than the next man”. To­day, he’s ir­ri­tated by most ro­man­tic bal­lads. “All those reg­u­lar rhymes are so overused. That’s why I some­times use very odd words,” he told Celia Walden in The Daily Tele­graph. “I’ve used ‘cel­lulite’ in a song, and ‘armpit’ – ‘I love the smell of your armpits’.” The 5ft 3in French Ar­me­nian has been mar­ried three times; he had an af­fair with Liza Min­nelli, and friend­ships with Edith Piaf and Brigitte Bar­dot. But he has been with his present wife, Ulla – “the woman that I al­ways wanted to have” – for more than half a cen­tury. He ad­mits, though, that he’s sad never to have known Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe: “Maybe she wouldn’t have killed her­self if she’d met me.”

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