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Johnny Hallyday, the Elvis of France, Dies at 74

06 December 2017

Veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday has died after a battle with cancer.

Born Jean-Philippe Smet in Paris in 1943, Hallyday would go on to sell over 100 million records over his long and illustrious music career.

Mrs Hallyday wrote in a statement: "Johnny Hallyday has left us".

"The rock "n" roll attitude which he brought from the USA made him an idol to youth of the sixties", Macron's office said. He was hardly known by many Americans, but he was called the French Elvis. It was their example that wants him to become a singer.

While he was never taken seriously overseas, Hallyday broke from France's classic "chanson" tradition in the late 1950s, selling more than 100 million albums and headlining 50 major tours. Johnny in 1960. The following year while performing at the first rock festival at the Palais des Sports in Paris, he set off a near-riot that led to a ban on rock "n" roll shows for several months.

Unfortunately, Hallyday could not replicate his success in America.

The highlight of his music career came when he performed in front of more than 600,000 at the Eiffel Tower in 2001. The first time the US heard him was during the "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1962 after which he gave numerous concerts, however, Hallyday never managed to receive a great following.

He made his first screen appearance in 1955 as an extra in classic thriller 'Les Diaboliques.' Hallyday broke out in France in 'Where Are You From Johnny?', playing a thinly disguised version of himself. "When the good days of rock "n" roll were over, the public could have abandoned him but a new life for him began".

"He's quite incredible. People of all ages like him", he added.

Johnny Hallyday, the Elvis of France, Dies at 74