Johnny Hallyday

Having sold more than 110 million albums across the globe, Johnny Hallyday was one of France's most successful singing stars for decades, as well as one of the few French-language singers to gain popularity in English-speaking countries. Born as "Jean-Philippe Léo Smet" in Paris on June 13, 1943, he grew up loving 1950s rock & roll - particularly Elvis Presley - and swiftly adapted the style to French, releasing his first album Hello Johnny in 1960 and selling a million copies with his cover of "Let's Twist Again," which topped the charts in France and Belgium. He subsequently became a phenomenon, his stage shows causing near-hysteria among audiences as he achieved iconic status in France. He continued to record successful albums in the ensuing decades, including the double-platinum Gang in 1986, the gold-certified Rough Town in 1994, the double-platinum Ce Que Je Sais in 1998, the diamond-certified A La Vie a La Mort in 2002, and the double-platinum Ma Verite in 2005. He also established a parallel movie career, acting in a succession of French films. When a cancer diagnosis threatened to bring his music career to a close, he released Tour 66: Stade de France 2009, a live album recorded during his farewell tour. He came out of retirement just two years later, however, to record the gold-certified Jamais Seul with Matthieu Chedid. Another diamond-certified release, L'Attente, came out in 2012, followed by the Number 1 albums Rester Vivant and De L'Amour in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Two years later, he passed away on December 5, 2017, losing a battle with lung cancer at the age of 74. A number of posthumous releases maintained his popularity in France, Switzerland, and Belgium, with albums like 2018's Mon Pays C'est L'amour, 2019's Johnny, and 2021's L'histoire Continue...Acte II all topping the charts in his homeland.

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