Culture&Arts

Icon Johnny Hallyday, 'the French Elvis', dies aged 74

Icon Johnny Hallyday, 'the French Elvis', dies aged 74

Despite a few attempts to break the worldwide market, Hallyday remained largely unknown in many parts of the world - although it didn't stop him from reportedly amassing an impressive 100 million-plus albums sold or performing to roughly 750,000 people at a free concert held at the Eiffel Tower in 2009 - all milestones befitting the performer who, as journalist Philippe Le Corre is quoted as saying, "introduced rock "n" roll to France".

Hallyday sang some songs in English including "Hot Legs" and "house of the Rising Sun", the melody of which was also used for one of his most famous songs - the 1964 "Le Penitencier".

But Mr. Hallyday became a favorite of French presidents such as Jacques Chirac, who reportedly helped him and his wife adopt a baby, and Emmanuel Macron, who praised Mr. Hallyday in a statement for bringing "a part of America into our national pantheon".

In his hometown, Hallyday was simply known as Johnny.

"My global career? It'll happen if it happens", Mr. Hallyday once told Agence France-Presse.

Born on June 15 1943, he attempted suicide in 1966, collapsed on stage in 1986 and married five times, twice to the same woman, the daughter of one of his oldest friends and songwriters.

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More recently, Hallyday appeared in Johnnie To's "Vengeance" (2009) and had talked about giving film a bigger role in his life. He played blues, rock-and-roll, country music and other styles.

Outside the Francophone countries, Hallyday was virtually unknown.

French singer Johnny Hallyday performs on stage on March 26, 2016 at the beginning of his concert in Brussels.

Hallyday remained a draw late into his career.

The "My Heart Will Go On" singer took to Twitter and wrote that she is incredibly sad to hear of the passing of this legendary artist. He was a giant in show business.a true icon!

Hallyday, who'd faced a variety of health issues later in life, ultimately succumbed to lung cancer. He said he considered it his therapy.


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