I have always loved France and the wonderful stylish way the French do things. As a child I grew up in the southern region of the country just outside Marseille, so I have very fond memories of certain things which are so very typically French and one of these is of the rock music that was also quite unique back in the sixties and seventies all over Europe.
French musicians and film stars are legends who are not really that well known outside of the country and one of my favorite ‘French rock stars’ was Johnny Hallyday. But I also liked his wife at the time Sylvie Vartan, who was one of the first French rock lady stars in the sixties. Today, Mr. Hallyday is still very much a superstar who made such an impression on people with his style of singing and more especially his style of dress. The cowboy/biker image he adopted went down incredibly well, it gained him a huge following and there are shops in Paris that dedicate their style of clothing just to him.
Johnny Hallyday was to the French what Elvis was to the rest of the world. With Sylvie Vartan, I remember well how wonderful I thought they were at the time. The amazing thing was that his career just kept going on and on. He starred in many films including ones in which he played himself, Cherchez l’Idole and L’Aventure c’est l’Aventure. More recently he played the part of Laurence Milliken in the Pink Panther 2 which also had Jeremy Irons it in.
This iconic French rock star has 18 platinum albums, he has completed 100 tours and sold more than 110 million records and although he did announce his retirement in 2009 was to reappear on the scene in 2011 which got the applause of all his fans, including me.
Of course over the years there have been many famous French rock stars, but none have become quite so iconic as Mr. Johnny Hallyday. He totally embodied what French rock music was all about and although quite different from say the American or English scene, there was and is something incredibly special about him. The sales of his albums and his notoriety are proof enough of this. He comes from an era of actors such as Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon and of course Brigitte Bardot who were icons of the French silver screen and of Hollywood too.
The rock star bought out memorable songs including his own unique versions of ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ – Quand un Homme Perd Ses Reves and so many more like Comme un fou – Stuck on You among many, many others. With other singers like Serge Gainsbourg and of course Francoise Hardy, the French have always shown such incredible style in the way they present themselves and their music but Johnny Hallyday is a icon in the true sense of the word. For me he still embodies everything that is so typically and wonderfully French.