Manuel Menengichian was a legend of the 60’s, talented singer and performer of main roles in Armenian musical melodramas created in the US.
Menengichian was also known as a French chanson along with other performers of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour, Rosie Armen, and Mark Arjan. His songs are still remembered and listened to in Armenia, but no one knows what forced him to quit his career in the 60’s.
Manuel Menengichian was born in Beirut into an Armenian family. He has been fond of music since childhood. After his parents had arrived in Paris, he started to attend a musical school. The incredible voice and charisma of Menengichian grabbed the attention of Douglas Scott, whom our hero later received education from. Then, Menengichian took lessons from Charles Aznavour, who greatly influenced the young singer.
Menengichian was inimitable. At a contest of young pop singers in 1965, he placed first and received recognition and fame. In 1967 after his tour in the USSR, he released compositions in French compiled in the “Manuel Sings” album.
Between 1967-68, Menengichian conducted 75 concerts and the sales of vinyl records with his compositions exceeded 2 million copies in the Soviet Union. In 1969, he won the International Music Competition in Athens. During his short musical activity, Menengichian released albums in French, English, and Armenian.
At the peak of his fame, Menengichian performed not only as a singer but an author of his own works in collaboration with the composer E. Rahbani. Among his most known performances are Tears of Happiness, The Song of the Waves, Nicole, Erevan, Silva, and others. In addition to his musical career, Manuel also tried himself in the film industry. His most notable works are such Armenian films as Sons of Sasun, Tears of Happiness, Love Confession.
After his disappearance from music industry, his popularity faded away at once. No one could certainly say what happened to him. According to some people, Manuel Menengichian was killed in a car accident during filming in the US. But these are just false speculations.
Manuel Menengichian hadn’t died and has been living in the United States for more than 30 years. He just finished his musical career at the height of his fame without saying goodbye to his fans.
The reason of mysterious disappearance of the singer is still unknown. Probably, behind the smile, humor, and ringing voice, Menengichyan hid a person who wanted a slightly different life.
In 1998 at the annual Armenian Music Awards in Los Angeles, Menengichian reminded the public about himself by performing his famous song Tears of Happiness. And in 2005 at the same festival, Manuel was awarded the title of the best singer of the 60’s.
In conclusion, it should be added that Manuel at the top of his colossal fame presented many joyful and unforgettable songs to his listeners that many stars of Armenian pop music sing these days. And despite the fact that he no longer performs in public, his compositions are listened to by more than one generation.
Manuel Menengichian (Yerchangutyan Artsunkneri)
Manuel – մոռացել եք ինձ – lebanese armenian- 1972
Мануэль (Ливан) – Забыть тебя (60-е)
Manuel Manankichian – Alikner@ K@ Kanchen