Johnny Hallyday, the Elvis Presley of France, Is Dead at 74
His upbringing was uncommon. Aunt Hélène, a former silent-film actress, was a stage supervisor for her two dancing daughters, whom she shepherded from one engagement to the subsequent in cities throughout Europe.
Jean-Philippe, whom her American husband referred to as Johnny, grew to become a sort of onstage mascot, singing whereas the women
Besides singing, Jean-Philippe appeared in commercials as a boy and performed the function of a schoolboy in the 1955 Henri-Georges Clouzot thriller, “Les Diaboliques.”
Elvis modified all the things. “His voice, the way he moved, everything was sexy,” Mr. Hallyday instructed USA Today in 2000. “The first time I saw him, I was paralyzed.”
He started singing American rock songs at the Moulin Rouge and different golf equipment round Paris, and in 1959 he was signed by Vogue Records, which launched his first album, “Hello Johnny,” in 1960, misspelling Halliday on the cowl. The misspelling caught.
His first single, “Laisse les Filles” (“Leave the Girls Alone”), usually described as the first French rock track, was a minor hit. In 1961 he recorded his first million-seller, “Viens Danser le Twist,” a French-language model of the Chubby Checker hit “Let’s Twist Again.”
Like Elvis Presley, Mr. Hallyday pursued a second profession as an actor. Unlike Presley, he finally received severe essential respect for his work, particularly in such later roles as a world-weary prison in “The Man on the Train” (2002) and a person who seeks revenge when his daughter’s household is attacked in “Vengeance”
He took music severely too. Always present with the newest developments in Anglo-American rock, he made it some extent to work with prime expertise outdoors France. Early in his profession he recorded in Nashville with the vocal group the Jordanaires, who backed Presley on many data. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was his opening act in 1966, and he later introduced the British guitarists Jimmy Page and Peter Frampton to France for recording periods.
His efforts remained unappreciated by English and American audiences.
In 1965 Mr. Hallyday married Ms. Vartan, his co-star in the movie “Where Are You From, Johnny?” They divorced in 1980. Two subsequent marriages additionally resulted in divorce.
In addition to his present spouse, the former Laeticia Boudou, Mr. Hallyday is survived by their two daughters, Jade and Joy; David Hallyday, a son from his marriage with Ms. Vartan; and Laura Smet, a daughter from his relationship with the actress Nathalie Baye.
Mr. Hallyday’s profession appeared to be on the wane in the early 1980s, however he rebounded with the album “Rock ’n’ Roll Attitude” (1985), the first in a string of midcareer successes that culminated in “Collection: Johnny Hallyday,” a 42-CD set issued to rejoice his 50th birthday in 1993. Although priced at greater than $1,000, the restricted version of eight,000 bought out in two days.
In 1997, President Jacques Chirac made Mr. Hallyday a member of the Legion of Honor.
Rumors of Mr. Hallyday’s retirement at all times turned out to be false. Like an opera star, he adopted every farewell tour with one other.
With time the hard-rock edge softened, and he turned increasingly to breathy ballads in the venerable French chanson custom of Jacques Brel, Édith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg. His gross sales by no means slowed. In 2002, his double CD “À la Vie, à la Mort!” (“To Life, to Death!”) bought 800,000 copies in its first week, a French document.
He launched his 50th studio album, “De l’Amour,” in 2015.
Mr. Hallyday introduced in March that he had lung most cancers. An album of his hits as interpreted by different artists, “On a Tous Quelque Chose de Johnny” (“We’re All a Little Bit Like Johnny”), was launched in November.
“It is hard to explain the Johnny phenomenon to foreigners,” Arnold Turboust, a French songwriter, instructed The Independent of London in 2000. “He is an efficient singer, however there are numerous singers. He is a chameleon, a performer, an actor, fairly than an awesome musical unique; a pirate of different individuals’s types. But to the French, he’s half of our historical past, our psyche.
“We have all grown up with Johnny,” Mr. Turboust continued. “We remember his first love affair, his first fight, his first marriage, his first motorcycle. He is our family.”
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