Johnny Hallyday

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Johnny Hallyday (born Jean-Philippe Smet; 15 June 1943) is a French[1] singer and actor.[2] An icon in the French-speaking world since the beginning of his career, he was considered by some[3] to have been the French Elvis Presley. His father, Léon Smet (1908–1989), was Belgian, his mother Huguette Clerc (1920–2007) was French; the young Hallyday took his stage name from his aunt's husband, American artist Lee Halliday (also a pseudonym).

Hallyday, whose music career has spanned a half-century, is one of France's biggest stars. He has completed 100 tours, had 18 platinum albums, and sold more than 100 million records.[4] Hallyday announced his retirement from performing on 3 December 2007 at the age of 64,[5] after a farewell tour.



Influenced by Elvis Presley and the 1950s rock revolution, Hallyday became famous in the 1960s for singing rock and roll in French. His debut single, "Laisse les filles" was released on the Vogue label in March 1960.[6] His first album, Hello Johnny, was released in 1960.[7] In 1961 his cover of "Let's Twist Again" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[8] It topped almost every European chart, although the track did not appear in the UK Singles Chart.[9] He appeared on the American Ed Sullivan Show with American singing star Connie Francis in a show that was taped at the Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris. He also staged many appearances in the Paris Olympia under the management of the late Bruno Coquatrix. For their first concert, The Jimi Hendrix Experience opened for Johnny Hallyday in Évreux on 13 October 1966. Black and white footage, also from October 1966, exists of Hallyday partying with Hendrix, his manager Chas Chandler and others.

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