Johnny Hallyday, who died on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday at age 74, was the icon of French rock: his hits have been with all eras for more than half a century and his tumultuous life has made the happiness of people magazines.
His successes, entered into the collective memory, embody a career of exceptional longevity started in 1960: „The Penitentiary“, „Black is black“, „Hold the night“, „Long hair short ideas“, „For me life will begin „,“ When comes back the night „,“ I love you „,“ Gabrielle „,“ The music I love „,“ My mouth „,“ Something from Tennessee „,“ Light the fire „,“ Marie „…
Until the January 2015 terrorist song, „A Sunday in January“, performed during the tribute to the victims in January 2016.
Jean-Philippe Léo Smet was born on June 15, 1943 in Paris. Very quickly, her mother Huguette Clerc, a Frenchwoman, and her father Léon Smet, a Belgian, separate and the child is taken in by his aunt.
As a teenager, he discovers the scene thanks to his cousin, the American artist Lee Halliday, whose name he will be inspired by. He frequented the cult place of French rock of the time, Golf Drouot, where he made French covers and adaptations of the American country repertoire and especially Elvis Presley.
His first single (at Vogue) under the name Johnny Hallyday was released in 1960 with a cover of a Dalida song, „T’aimer folly“, followed by „Souvenirs, souvenirs“, two titles that propel him up. poster.
Hallyday then occupies the Parisian scenes and makes great tours in the provinces, making headlines in passing. He whom the media calls „the idol of young people“ becomes the king of French rock. At a concert Place de la Nation in Paris in June 1963, 150,000 people overwhelmed the police to listen.
– Part of shadow –
He married the singer Sylvie Vartan in 1965. David, their son, who will become a singer himself, was born in 1966.
The modes will succeed (hippie, soul music, blues, pop …) and Johnny will accompany them.
In more than 50 years of career followed by three generations of fans, he has sold more than 100 million copies, recorded 50 studio albums including forty gold records and won ten Victoires de la musique.
But where he commands respect, it’s in concert. A true beast of the stage, during often spectacular performances, he breaks records of attendance with more than one million spectators during the tours 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009.
He has performed nine times at the Stade de France and gave himself an ultimate pleasure last summer, alongside his comrades Eddy Mitchell and Jacques Dutronc for a tour of the „Vieilles Canailles“.
If Johnny is a beautiful and powerful voice, his beautiful mouth has opened the doors of the cinema.
His acting career has its ups and downs, with a handful of key roles including three films selected at the Cannes Film Festival: „Adventure is adventure“ by Claude Lelouch in 1972, „Détective“ by Jean- Luc Godard in 1985 and „Vengeance“ of Johnnie To in 2009.
Friend of two presidents of the right, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, the singer was appreciated by Emmanuel Macron.
– ‚Not like the others‘ –
The star also had its dark side, sinking into excess and fighting against her demons. In 1966, he made a suicide attempt.
„He needs these descent into hell to go back, to build, to reinvent his life,“ said Laeticia, his wife.
„You can not do this job if you’re normal.I have not been feeling like the others for a long time, I have to go wrong to know that I could be fine,“ he told Le Monde. in 1998.
In recent years, it was his health that worried.
In 2009, he underwent colon cancer, then was hospitalized urgently in Los Angeles, following complications following the operation of a herniated disc. The whole of France holds its breath. Plunged into a coma, he is close to death. It follows a long recovery and a period of depression he will overcome to return to the stage and record new albums.
In March 2017, while living in Los Angeles for several years, he announced that he was being treated for cancer. He returned to France at the end of the summer with his wife Laeticia and two adopted girls, Jade and Joy, of Vietnamese origin.
Before this union, Johnny had a tumultuous love life.
Immortalized with Sylvie Vartan as the couple of yéyés years, he divorced the singer in 1980.
A year later, he married Babeth Etienne. In 1982, he became the companion of actress Nathalie Baye, with whom he will have a daughter, Laura, herself an actress. Then he married Adeline Blondieau in 1990 to divorce in 1992. He married her a second time in Las Vegas and the couple divorced again two years later.
In 1996, he married the daughter of one of his closest friends, Laeticia Boudou.