Culture&Arts

Johnny Hallyday, singer known as the 'French Elvis,' dies at 74

Johnny Hallyday, singer known as the 'French Elvis,' dies at 74

Macron said "we all have something of Johnny Hallyday in us".

He began singing at the end of the 1950s, specialising in French-language cover versions of famous songs by artists like Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochrane and Elvis Presley - whose example inspired him to become a singer, Variety reported.

In 1960, Hallyday released his first album.

Hallyday's 2001 concert at the Eiffel Tower drew a crowd as large as 600,000. He has more than 1,000 songs to his name and over 30 No.1 hits on the French music charts. Trying to revive his moribund career again, Hallyday formed a new band called The Blackbirds, which featured future Foreigner singer Mick Jones, signaling a move into more R&B-influence sounds.

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Hallyday also achieved fame through a modest film career, playing in French director Jean-Luc Godard's "Detective" (1984) and with other illustrious directors including Costa-Gavras.

The rocker "lived his entire life wholly for his fans, who loved him and idolised him", she added. Hallyday was born Jean-Phillippe Smet on June 15, 1943, in Paris' Malesherbes neighborhood, the son of Belgian parents who separated just months after his birth.

From the age of 11 Hallyday took to the road as an entertainer with Les Hallidays, a family troupe consisting of his uncle Lee and Mar's daughters Menen and Desta.

Hallyday was for many years married to French singer Sylvie Vartan and the two were considered a musical power couple.


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