We first heard this track on Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, when he called Charles Aznavour the “Frank Sinatra of France”.
It’s an incredible diatribe from an eloquent, bitter man: “I drink to drive away all the years I have hated…” “…for our sterile embraces in the tomb of your bed.” Don’t hold back, Charles! Say what you mean.
Coupled with rushing, fevered orchestration the effect is devastating. We love it so much, we’ve decided to share the lyrics in full so you can revel in the schadenfreude. Enjoy!
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,
Yes, I drink to remind me that still I’m 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 gleam of the love we degraded,
Of a life that has faded like the vanishing moon.
I drink, as in a dream, to my waning desire,
To the passionate fire that has burned out so soon.
I drink and I drown in the 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 the 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 a 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 in my own degradation,
To the edge of damnation that is waiting below.
Yes, I drink with a thirst that destroys and depraves me
And cuffs and enslaves me, and will never let go.
I drink until I’m lost, and the street is my hideout
Where I vomit 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 the compassion of death.
So I spit out 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 to my despair… I drink to your disgust…
I drink, drink, drink… by God, I drink!
Yes, I drink!