French Rock Icon Johnny Hallyday Dies at 74

Johnny Hallyday—one of France's biggest rock stars—has died at the age of 74 following a battle with cancer. In a career that spanned 57 years, the French rock icon performed for more than 28 million fans, sold more than 110 million records, and recorded no less than 79 studio and live albums.

While not widely known outside of the French-speaking world, Hallyday was considered by some to be France's Elvis, drawing an association with the singer who first inspired him to perform.

Hallyday got his start singing popular covers in English and French while accompanying himself on the guitar. It was in the early '60s that Johnny's career took off, as French audiences embraced his take on rock 'n' roll. His first major hit,"T'aimer Follement,"came in 1960, followed by his version of "Let's Twist Again," which became a gold record in 1962.

In 1966, Johnny shared the stage with Jimi Hendrix. A year later, the two artists would collaborate on a French version of "Hey Joe." Hallyday also worked with Jimmy Page, who played on two tracks on the album, Johnny 67.

In the early '70s, Hallyday began his collaboration with composer Michel Mallory, which yielded some of his biggest hits, like La Musique Que J'aime in 1973. In 1976, Requiem Pour un Fou earned gold status only a few days after its release.

Hallyday's career in the '80s was marked by his collaboration with the composer Michel Berger and the release of popular albums, like Rock'n'Roll Attitude. Successes continued in the '90s and 2000s, as Hallyday increasingly became a living icon of French popular music.

In the later chapters of his career, Hallyday's concerts would become major events for his legions of adoring fans. On June 10, 2000, more than five hundred thousand people came to watch him play under the Eiffel Tower to celebrate the new millennium. Johnny went on stage one last time this past summer with Jacques Dutronc and Eddy Mitchell.

Cover photo via rufus .

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