Johnny Hallyday Dies: the Elvis of France Passes Away at 74

in Music

France’s rock ‘n’ roll giant Johnny Hallyday has passed away, his wife and the French President announced on Wednesday.

Since last March, Mr. Hallyday had been fighting lung cancer. He was 74.

The singer had been vibrant in music life for 60 years and was a favourite rock star among France’s households. Famous for his cowboy swagger and gravelly voice, Mr. Hallyday was the French version of Elvis, with hundreds of millions of followers. While he was not well-known outside the French-speaking world, his rock icon was recognized. With over 100 million records and nearly 10 million viewers for his 2000 concert at the Eiffel Tower, he was indeed the father of rock in France.

A year after his debut single ‘Laisse les filles’ in 1960, Mr. Halliday’s cover of ‘Let’s Twist Again’ topped nearly all European charts; it sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. This marked the early success of Mr. Halliday’s music path.

With the years passed, he branched out from his rock ‘n’ roll origin and caught new trends as they came along. Mr. Halliday experimented plenty of music genres, from pop and country to acid rock and R&B.

In 2008, Mr. Hallyday was the main cast of a Hong Kong-French movie ‘Vengeance’ directed by Johnnie To. The movie was release in Hong Kong in August 2009. It competed for the Hong Kong Film Awards, Asia Film Awards as well as the prestigious Palme D’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.

Though rumours of his retirement went on, he ran sets of farewell tours and was planning on another one before the cancer battle. The news of his death broke millions hearts around the globe, and he’ll always be remembered and honored as France’s Elvis for his impeccable music and performance.