Rocker Hal­ly­day idol­ized in na­tive France, ob­scure else­where

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - OBITUARIES - By Elaine Gan­ley

PARIS » When French TV crews de­scended on a Los An­ge­les hos­pi­tal in 2009, Amer­i­can re­porters didn’t get it. Johnny Hal­ly­day was hospitalized. Who’s he? Only a rock mu­sic idol and leg­end, a man France’s pres­i­dent would eu­lo­gize Wed­nes­day as “a French hero.”

Hal­ly­day, known sim­ply as Johnny, made gen­er­a­tions of fans in his na­tive France squeal, jump and jive with his daz­zling dress, pump­ing pelvis and tunes by Amer­i­can artists belted out in French. His death at age 74 was a loss even for younger peo­ple who might have found his Elvis Pres­leyin­spired act passe.

But the beloved rocker’s star­dom

mostly re­mained con­fined to France. Me­dia out­lets in the U.S. re­ported Wed­nes­day on the “Johnny” phe­nom­e­non that en­dured for more than half a cen­tury.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron a fan and off­stage ac­quain­tance of Hal­ly­day’s, of­fered a lyri­cal on-thes­pot trib­ute while vis­it­ing Al­giers for talks on fight­ing ter­ror­ism.

“We had built deep within our­selves the con­vic­tion that he was invincible. He is among th­ese men who should have died 100 times be­cause of their life­style, be­cause of their overindul­gence, be­cause of their bat­tles,” Macron, 39, said “But he never fell.”

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