French Rocker Johnny Hallyday Was Bad To The Bone But Most American Never Heard Of Him

Johnny Hallyday

France is famous for growing some of the finest grapes in the world, and for incredibly, exquisite food. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the French Rivera is a spectacular, natural wonder. France is famous for so many different facts and figures, but the French deny some of those things. But there is one fact France will never deny, and that is the incredible career of Jean-Philippe Léo Smet. Jean-Philippe Léo Smet, better known as Johnny Hallyday, was to France what Elvis is to the United States. The French rocker got the most hits on Google France searches in 2017. The song with the most searches in 2017 was Hallyday’s 1986 hit “I Promise You.” ("Je te promets")

Hallyday went to that big rock concert in the sky on December 6, 2017, but the legend of Johnny Hallyday is alive and well in France, and in other parts of the world. Now that he’s gone, American rock-and-roll lovers are finally getting a real taste of Hallyday’s Elvis type Swagger. During his 57-year stint as the rocker, he put together 79 albums and sold more than 110 million copies all over the world. And most French women still say they would like to have a Daryl Hall and John Oates kind of “One on One” moment with him. In 2002, his Eiffel Tower performance, after the Football World Cup, was one of the best in his 3,257 live-show history. More than a million people were at the show, and another nine million saw him shake his tail feather on television.

The French like to just call him, “Johnny,” because he is a national music hero. And the 2,500 magazine articles about his life and career prove that Hallyday was “the biggest rock star that no one in the English-speaking world heard of.” Even though Johnny was a Los Angeles resident, most American didn’t know that. And they forgot he was on the Ed Sullivan show back in the day with Connie Francis. Plus, they don’t remember his party days with Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, and Bob Dylan.

Johnny Hallyday ranks up there with great French wine, great French cuisine and French and American rock-and-roll music. Hallyday’s nickname, l’Idôle des Jeunes came from Ricky Nelson’s 1962 record “Teen Age Idol.” Johnny always gave the French teens the music they needed.

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