A Young Girl

shootthepianoplayer

 

I first fell in love with Charles Aznavour years ago when I saw him in Shoot The Piano Player.  I didn’t know then that he was one of the greatest French singers of the latter twentieth-century. How could I know? In the film, he is so quiet, playing his piano. At 85, he’s still performing concerts, and had appeared in over 6o films.

Aznavour wrote “Une Enfant,” a song as cautionary tale: a young girl of sixteen falls in with the wrong guy, he leads her astray, and she winds up “lying here by the road… DEAD.” It’s on his 1954 album Sur Ma Vie.


Charles Aznavour - Sur Ma Vie

Un Enfante- Charles Aznavour

 

Cher sang the song in 1966, which is ironic, since as a sixteen year-old runaway she took up with the older Sonny Bono.  Fortunately, Sonny was a good guy. 

 

sonnysidecher

A Young Girl- Cher

 

The English lyrics to the song were written by singer/songwriter/civil rights pioneer Oscar Brown, Jr.  Often, Brown composed lyrics for popular instrumental jazz tunes, including Nat Adderley’s “Work Song,” song popularly by Nina Simone. Check out the words of praise this guy received for his first album. 

 

albumcoverOscarBrownJr-SinAndSoul

A Young Girl- Oscar Brown, Jr.

 

I first heard “A Young Girl” on a great Parrot Records compilation, in which every song was a winner. Noel Harrison’s take on “A Young Girl” really struck me. I’ve always loved Noel Harrison’s deadpan delivery. 

 

greatesthitsengland

 

Here’s Noel, Rex Harrison’s son, singing “A Young Girl” on British show Hullaballoo.

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One response to “A Young Girl

  1. This is the Dutch version of the song, called ‘Meisje van zestien’. It was in the hitlist for 13 weeks and made Boudewijn de Groot famous in The Netherlands in 1965.

    I always thought the Dutch version was the original one, thanks for clearing things up. Charles’ original is WAY better!

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