Thursday, December 14, 2017

Adieu Johnny: A French Music Legend Dies

Music Legend Dies

Adieu, Johnny!

'French Elvis' Honored 


In a career that spanned more than six decades, he recorded more than a thousand songs, sold 100 million records and earned more than 60 gold and platinum records. Jean-Philippe Smet, whose stage name is "Johnny Hallyday," was dubbed the "French Elvis" because he is credited for bringing rock 'n' roll to France. He passed away last week from lung cancer at the age of 74. And France is mourning.

Fats Domino, left, Johnny Hallyday and Sugar Ray Robinson

Johnny was also a lover of watches (top picture, with a Cartier Tank) and a Rolex wearer. He wore a two-tone Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date in the 1980s (next two pictures). Later in life, he owned a Rolex Daytona black dial 116520 (last picture). 

I grew up in France listening to his music. For me, he was more of a French Johnny Cash mixed with Bruce Springsteen  a combination of raw masculinity, rebellion and hard work  and I shed tears when I learned of his passing a week ago. His funeral brought 800,000 French to the Champs Elysées Saturday. This weekend the Eiffel Tower was lit with letters that said, "MERCI, JOHNNY." And French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech.

He was married four times and had a four-year relationship with Nathalie Baye, above, a French actress who played in "Catch Me If You Can." Below, Johnny wearing a Daytona.

Finally, I love this video of him with Sammy Davis Jr.