French Superstar Johnny Hallyday Dead at 74

French Superstar Johnny Hallyday Dead at 74

He played blues, rock-and-roll, country music and other styles.

Hallyday, who'd faced a variety of health issues later in life, ultimately succumbed to lung cancer. Highlights include a music festival in Paris in 1961 that got wild enough to lead to a temporary ban on rock "n" roll shows, and a 1966 show where he gave The Jimi Hendrix Experience their first gig, opening for him.

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.

If the date of the funeral of the famous rocker has not yet been announced, Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have confirmed their presence.

Hallyday, born Jean-Philippe Smet in 1943 in occupied Paris, made a decision to be a singer after seeing the Elvis Presley film Loving You in 1957.

Speculation is rife that Hallyday, who survived a tough childhood after being abandoned by his alcoholic father, will be given a full state funeral, complete with a procession down the Champs Elysees, the grand ceremonial avenue of the French capital - an honour usually reserved for France's greatest heroes.

He was raised mainly by an aunt, a former silent-film actress who toured Europe with her two ballerina daughters and a young Jean-Philippe.

His career began in 1960 with the release of his debut album Hello Johnny.

Hallyday remained a draw late into his career. The criticism was somewhat abated after Mr. Hallyday, like his idol Elvis, served briefly in his country's military.

Hallyday later married model Laeticia Boudou, a mere 31 years his junior, and adopted two Vietnamese children. He was 74-years old.

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