Culture&Arts

Laeticia Hallyday will not seem before the burial of Johnny - Gala

Laeticia Hallyday will not seem before the burial of Johnny - Gala

But even with his gravelly voice, good looks and piercing blue eyes he never managed to break into the lucrative United Kingdom and USA music markets.

Hallyday, who'd faced a variety of health issues later in life, ultimately succumbed to lung cancer.

Defying France's reputation as a land of crooners and jazz, Hallyday had his big break with the 1960 hit "T'aimer Follement" (Makin' Love) and later belted out French versions of songs such as Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe".

His appeal was a mystery to many outsiders, who wondered how a culture that valued the elusive quality of "Frenchness" above all else could fall for a man who once moved to Switzerland for tax reasons, applied for citizenship in Belgium, Americanized his name and sought to infuse his music with the idealism of Norman Rockwell paintings and Western films.

President Emmanuel Macron led the mourning by declaring that "there is something of Johnny in all of us", and his officials said he and his wife Brigitte would attend the funeral.

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Outside the Francophone countries, Hallyday was virtually unknown.

The singer - real name Jean-Philippe Smet - was known for a while "as the biggest rock star you have never heard of" and his success in the French-speaking world was unmatched for years.

Think of Elvis, first and foremost-the King was Hallyday's original inspiration and North Star-but add Serge Gainsbourg, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, James Dean, and David Hasselhoff, and you'll be in the right arrondissement.

Hallyday remained a draw late into his career.

He is survived by his wife Laeticia, three daughters and a son. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available. In recent years, he seemed to treasure anonymity, living at times in Los Angeles, in a country where few people recognized him. The idol of the young died at the age of 74 years, leaving behind him a great sorrow. "Perhaps, I'm a little exhausted of playing Johnny Hallyday".


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