Singer, who sold more than 110 m books and was hero-worship across contemporaries in France, had lung cancer
France’s biggest rock star, Johnny Hallyday, the leather-trousered “French Elvis” who sold more than 110 m albums over a profession spanning more than half a century, has died aged 74.
His wife, Laeticia Hallyday, said on Wednesday:” Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these names without believing them. But hitherto, it’s true. My being is no longer with us. He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with fearlessnes and prestige .”
Hallyday had lung cancer.
The singer, whose hits were little known outside the French-speaking world, went from a young heartthrob with a quiff who interposed US-style rock’n’roll to France in the 1960 s to the ageing, bad son” patriarch of French pop”, a national gravestone, akin to music royalty, plastered over the cover-up of celebrity magazines.
Hallyday’s wife called the French president, Emmanuel Macron, at about 2am to inform him of Hallyday’s death.
In a statement, Macron wrote:” We will never forget the figure, cheek, the voice or above all the concerts of Johnny Hallyday .”
Later, Macron tweeted” we’ve all something of Johnny in us”, a melodic including references to Hallyday’s 1985 collision Quelque opted de Tennessee em >( Something of Tennessee ).
His more than 55 years of fame were celebrated by negations. He was musically eclectic, veering from French ballads to off-colors, and from country and western to prog stone, and was sometimes seen as disaffected, but chiefly adored by various contemporaries for his comforting light touch.
His entertainer friend Carlos once said:” Johnny is the Victor Hugo of chants; if he dies, France stops .”
Hallyday’s transferring introduced forth a curve of sentiment and homages in France, with writers calling him the country’s” last idol” and a” French legend “.” The tycoon is dead “, read a headline in L’Obs magazine.
His fellow French rocker Eddy Mitchell said:” I’ve lost more than a friend, I’ve lost my brother .”
Hallyday was often lampooned as an air-headed rocker, but he asserted that he was smarter than people reflected. He was capable of delivering sear and acclaimed film acts, and formerly played for the auteur-director Jean-Luc Godard.
His trademark was breathtaking stage shows- in more than 50 expedition he represented to more than 28 million people- where his hip-swinging stunts surely involved flares of glows, plumes of fume or arriving on stagecoach after being winched down from apache helicopters high above the field. So far-famed was he in France that Jimi Hendrix formerly played as his support routine.
Once asked to name best available commendation that could be granted on him, Hallyday said:” The show was good tonight .”