There's a reason for all this. I'll get to it in a bit...
Back in 1969, country singer Roy Clark (who came to more national fame as one of the hosts of the Laugh-in country follow-up Hee Haw) had a huge hit with the lovely song, "Yesterday, When I Was Young." It hit #9 on the country charts, but also became his only song to break the Top 40 on the pop charts, reaching #19.
Though he was a pretty big country star, I suspect most people don't know the pedigree of the song, which is about as far from country as it could get. But there's an additional twist to it all.
Bu first, in case you don't know the song -- or haven't heard it for a while, here it is. (Don't mind the video, it has the title wrong...)
As I said, this really isn't a country song at all. In fact, it's French, and was written by the great balladeer, Charles Aznavour. The original title is "Hier Encore." ("Still Yesterday.")
He's recorded it in both French and English, but it's the English version that's the other interesting fact. The translation was done by the British lyricist Herbert Kretzmer.
You might not know Kretzmer's name, but you know his work. He did the English translation of some other French songs -- the score to the musical, Les Miserables. (He also wrote the lyrics to a British musical I've posted songs from, The Four Musketeers, that starred my fave Harry Secombe.)
Aznavour wrote his song in 1964, when he was reasonably young. Here he is performing it, though, at an age that more fits the lyrics, only a few years back in 1996. (I found an even more recent video of him singing the number -- in 2007, at the age of 83. But it's a duet with someone else, and I'd rather leave the stage to the fellow all himself.
(And as a P.S. There's even a more recent 2008 recording, but it's also a duet and just audio -- no video. But quite noteworthy. It's a duet with Elton John. In fact, they recorded it twice, which you can listen to here in both English and French.)
And yes, M. Aznavour is still alive, at age 90. Yesterday, when he was young, indeed. Ecoute, ici --
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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