23 December 2009

No Hallyday for the Holidays

PUT ME DOWN as one who does not understand the phenomenon that is Johnny Hallyday. What? You don't know who Johnny Hallyday is? Then you've never lived in France.

Johnny Hallyday is a French rocker (I'm using the term 'rocker' lightly) who is wildly popular in the French-speaking world and is often called the French Elvis. He became famous in the 1960s when he was one of the first people to sing rock 'n roll in French. He actually became more famous (and some say a better performer) later in life. To give you an idea of his popularity, one of his concerts, 100% Johnny: Live à La Tour Eiffel in 2000, attracted an audience of 500,000 and 9.5 million television viewers (the show was broadcast live on French TV). He isn't well known outside France, but he has sold 100 million albums. 100 million!

Anyway, I bring this up because Hallyday, who is now 66 years old, has recently had to cancel his farewell tour due a near-death experience. Last month he had an operation on his back in Paris and a couple weeks later, while in Los Angeles, he developed some serious 'complications' from the surgery and spent several days in an induced coma. It now seems that he's going to make a full recovery, and that's a good thing.

But I still don't fully understand his popularity. I mean, I've heard him sing and perform on TV and he's fine -- but a superstar? Well, maybe it's a French thing and I just don't understand. Of course, what do I know; I'm a guy who's still trying to figure out what's the big deal about Josh Groban.


Steph said...

After 7.5 yrs living in France, I still don't get Hallyday either, but then again neither do I know who Josh Groban is ;)

Anonymous said...

No trouble with you, I'm French and I don't understand either.
Have a nice French year 2010.

le banc moussu said...

Gone too fast....I'm not anonymous..