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'I knew one day they'd understand', Aznavour talks to RFI

Passers-by on the Trocadero plaza as the Eiffel tower is lit up with gold in tribute to Charles Aznavour AFP

The Eiffel Tower lit up in gold on Monday night in homage to Charles Aznavour, the showbiz legend who died that morning at the age of 94. Most famous for love songs like She, he also wrote about controversial subjects such as homosexuality, obesity, love-making. "I knew one day they'd understand but it took time. Every strong idea takes time," he told RFI's Imogen Lamb in 2005.

As French politicians debated whether to give Aznavour a national hommage, like that given to rocker Johnny Hallyday last year, tributes poured in from around the world.

In the US, singers Barbara Streisand, Liza Minelli and Lenny Kravitz hailed the "great Charles".

In Armenia, the country of his family's origins, Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian is planning a day of national mourning.

RFI interview

Aznavour spoke to RFI shortly after the release of his autobiography Memories of my Life in 2005.

He recounted the difficult early years when he struggled for recognition, the nose operation that "helped me be, and feel, like somebody else" and his encounter with singer Edith Piaf, who launched him on the world stage.