Charles Aznavour is one of France's greatest musical voices and it pains me to say that I only discovered him in the last six months of last year. In typical fashion it was a case where you don't hear of someone for 22 years and then you're hearing about him all over the place. The Drones with their cover of this song on their 'Custom Made' double 7", Bob Dylan and his adoration of the man (the introduction to this mp3 rip is indeed, Dylan), numerous soundtracks and film roles. He just kept cropping up. This song, 'I Drink', is an English re-working of his French song, 'Je Bois' and is a truly magnificent song.
I've included the lyrics because it's worth reading if nothing else.
Charles Aznavour - I Drink
I drink to drive away all the years I have hated
the ambitions frustrated that no longer survive.
I drink day after day to the chaos behind me
as I drink to remind me that I still am alive.
So I give you a toast to the endless confusions
to the lies and delusions that have swallowed my life.
Yes I give you a toast to the wine and the roses,
to the deadly cirrhosis that can cut like a knife.
I drink to catch a glimpse of the love we degraded
of a life that has faded like the vanishing moon.
I drink, I see the dream to my waiting desire,
to the passionate fire that has burned out so soon.
I drink and I drown in a promise you made me
all the times you betrayed me in your anger and spite.
When you took on the town, when you looked for the action,
when you took satisfaction like a whore in the night.
I drink to make believe that my life is worth living
that the Gods are forgiving at the end of the day.
I drink because I grieve for dreams when we started,
for the innocent hearted who got lost on the way.
For the children unborn, for their dead phantom faces,
for our sterile embraces in the tomb of your bed.
I drink and I mourn for the harvest that failed,
for the ship that has sailed, for the hope that is dead.
I drink to find the place where the darkness can hide me
till the terror inside me can at last disappear.
I drink to my disgrace till oblivion claims me,
till there's nothing that shames me, till I'm blind to my fear.
Yes I drink till I burst, till my own degradation,
till the edge of damnation that is waiting below.
Yes I drink with a thirst that destroys and depraves me,
engulfs and enslaves me and will never let go.
I drink until I'm lost and the street is my hideout
Where I will beat my pride out till I'm gasping for breath.
I drink to count the cost of a life I despair for,
until God hears my prayer for a compassionate death.
So I spit up my bile at the Gods who demean us,
at the silence between us, at the love none can save,
for a life that is vile, for a soul that is ailing,
for a body that's failing as it heads for the grave.
I drink without a care.
Drink because I must.
Drink for my despair.
I drink to your disgust.
I drink, drink, drink, by God I drink.
Yes I drink.