sábado, 9 de abril de 2016

Johnny Hallyday - La Généeration Perdue 1966

France's first and only full-fledged rock star, Johnny Hallyday was still a distinctly French phenomenon, never achieving worldwide recognition (partially because a good chunk of his repertoire consisted of French-language covers of early American rock hits). Other French artists may have been influenced by rock & roll, but none was as beholden to the original sources, or as enduringly successful, as Hallyday. Moreover, his appropriations of Elvis Presley and James Dean captured the French imagination, but -- language barrier aside -- were often too stylized and imitative to resonate with audiences used to the genuine article. Yet even if his musical interpretations lacked some of the punch of their sources, his sense of rock & roll style, with all its rebellious trappings, was impeccable. His stage presence was undeniably electric, and his life was the stuff of which tabloid reporters' dreams are made: high-profile romances (and breakups), cocaine use, chronic tax problems, a taste for auto racing and motorcycles, and other assorted fallouts from life in the fast lane. In the end, though, Hallyday's appeal rested on a central balancing act: he may have been fascinated by a foreign cultural phenomenon, but he managed to maintain his essential Frenchness. His covers provided a way for American rock & roll to conquer France, adapting it to fit the country's own sensibilities without threatening its well-protected cultural autonomy. His later move into quintessentially French balladry helped increase his cross-generational appeal, and somewhat mirrored the career trajectory of his hero Elvis. With a career of several decades behind him, and sales figures in the tens of millions, the unconditionally adored Hallyday still ranks among France's greatest cultural icons.
Having adopted the name Johnny Hallyday, he caught his big break in late 1959, when an appearance on the Paris Cocktail television show led to a record contract with Vogue.Hallyday released his first single, "Laisse les Filles," in early 1960. Its follow-up, "Souvenirs, Souvenirs," became his first major hit, and when he performed at France's first rock festival at the Palais de Sport in early 1961, he set off a near-riot that led to a ban on rock & roll shows for several months. He switched from Vogue to Philips later that summer, and issued the smash LP Salut les Copains, which kicked off the so-called "yé-yé" era of French pop and made him a full-fledged teen idol. His tour of France that year touched off a hysteria not unlike the furor surrounding Elvis in the States. Toward the end of the year, Hallyday took French citizenship, appeared in the film Les Parisiennes, and had an enormous hit with "Viens Danser le Twist," an adaptation of Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again." Hallyday's success continued to snowball over the next few years, mixing American covers (as on the LP Johnny Hallyday Sings America's Rockin' Hits) with more traditional French pop: "Retiens la Nuit" (penned by Charles Aznavour), "Elle Est Terrible," "Be Bop a Lula," "Pas Cette Chanson," and two of his biggest hits, "L'Idole des Jeunes" and "Da Dou Ron Ron." The year 1963 found him starring in the film D'où Viens-Tu, Johnny?, which was directed by Noel Coward and co-starred fellow pop star Sylvie Vartan.
In 1964, Hallyday was called for military service, and much as it had for Elvis, his acceptance of his duty helped make him more respectable in the eyes of the mainstream public. Shortly before his induction, he completed another single, "Le Pénitencier," an adaptation of "House of the Rising Sun." Stationed in Germany, he married Sylvie Vartan in April 1965, and was discharged late that year. Initially, Hallyday found it difficult to recapture his career momentum; the rock & roll fad had already begun to pass in France, and even Elvis had been eclipsed by emerging stars like the Beatles and Bob Dylan. The socially conscious single "Cheveux Longs, Idées Courtes" didn't quite give Hallyday the credibility he'd hoped for. His son David (later a singer in his own right) was born in August 1966, but not long after, a deeply depressed Hallyday attempted suicide. After his recovery, he issued the despairing single "Noir, C'est Noir" as a commentary on the near-tragedy. He also assembled a more R&B-influenced touring band called the Blackbirds, headed up by British guitarist Mick Jones (later ofForeigner) and drummer Tommy Brown; their October gig at the Olympia in Paris featured a then-unknown opening act called the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Hallyday covered the Hendrix version of "Hey Joe" in 1967 (the same year he started racing cars), and dabbled in slightly heavier psychedelic rock over the next couple of years. His title song for the 1968 film A Tout Casser (in which he also starred) featured Jimmy Page as a session guitarist, as did the aptly titled "Psychedelic." The year 1969 saw the release of Que Je T'aime, a distinctly Cream-influenced rock record with a hit title track, as well as Je Suis Né Dans la Rue, a darker and more personal record that featured contributions from the Small FacesSteve Marriott and Ronnie Lane. In 1970, Hallyday flirted with a flower-child image via the single "Jesus Christ (Est un Hippie)," but quickly backed away from the posture. He continued to tour internationally and appear in movies, including 1971's L'Aventure, C'est L'Aventure; that year he also scored a major hit with "Oh Ma Jolie Sarah."
Hallyday collapsed on-stage during an August 1980 concert, and his marriage to Vartan broke up for good by the end of the year; rumors about his private life swirled, and one paper erroneously reported his death in early 1981. Late that year, he married model Babeth Etienne, a union that lasted not much more than two months. Not long afterward, he struck up a romance with actress Nathalie Baye, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in late 1983. Meanwhile, his lyricist, Michel Mallory, was replaced first by Pierre Billon, then Michel Berger, a writer grounded more in traditional cabaret and pop than rock & roll. Berger was partly responsible for 1985's "Quelque Chose de Tennessee," which became one of Hallyday's biggest and best-known hits.Hallyday also revived his flagging movie career in 1985 by teaming with legendary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard for Détective; he would continue to appear regularly in films through the early '90s. His romance with Baye ended in 1986, but that year he dominated the charts with the Jean-Jacques Goldman-penned album Gang, one of his biggest latter-day successes thanks to hits like "Laura," "L'Envie," "Je Te Promets," and a duet with Carmel, "J'oublierai Ton Nom." Released in 1989,Cadillac featured two songs by Hallyday's son David, who would shortly go on to his own singing career.
Further hit albums followed in 2005 and 2007 in the shape of Ma Vérité and the bluesy Le Cœur d'un Homme, which featured a track written for him by Bono. Shortly after its release, he announced that in 2009 he would retire from live performance after a farewell tour. After recording another successful album, Ça Ne Finira Jamais, in 2008, he was cast as the lead in Hong Kong director Johnnie To's first English-language film, Vengeance. In 2009, he underwent surgery for colon cancer, and his successful recovery must have made him reconsider his decision to quit the stage, for in 2012, after the release of yet another new studio album, Jamais Seul -- which received heavy international promotion -- he played three high-profile North American dates, in Los Angeles, Québec City, and New York. One year later, in 2013, L'Attente made it ten straight French chart-toppers for Hallyday, and he celebrated his 70th birthday in June of that year with several landmark events, including the collection Best of 70e AnniversaireRester Vivant, produced by Don Was, had no trouble debuting at number one upon its release in late 2014. AMG.

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