Cutout Bin: France's Biggest Rock Star in Fight For Sa Vie
The world's biggest rock and roll star you've never heard of is now in an L.A. hospital, recovering from botched surgery. Johnny Hallyday is one of the most famous men in the French-speaking world. He rose to stardom in the early 1960's doing Francophone covers of American rock and roll songs, and over the years has released no less than 70 albums and completed 400 tours. And you've still never heard of him. Often called "The French Elvis" - that's kind of like saying "The Norwegian James Brown", but whatever - Hallyday, 66, had back surgery in France last week that left him with serious complications. He was moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was put into a medically induced coma for several days. Meanwhile, back in Paris, hooded thugs beat the crap out of the surgeon who caused all the trouble. Don't mess with Johnny Hallyday. The good news is Johnny was brought out of the coma Monday, merci à Dieu, and doctors say he WILL sing again!
Over the years, Cutout Bin has only been able to find a few JH records languishing unappreciated in Houston thrift stores. One of these, La Peur , became an instant favorite bad album cover, with Johnny wearing a studded motorcycle helmet à la Mad Max. Unfortunately, as a quick YouTube review reveals, just about everything JH has done in the past 30 years is nearly unlistenable. Some of his old stuff was pretty rocking, even if his best moves were lifted from his American counterparts. Luckily, Cutout Bin is here to dutifully wade thought the 11,200 video results to bring you: "Johnny Hallyday: A Life." 1960: Je Cherche Une Fille : In case you were wondering why they called him the French Elvis. 1962: Johnny sings to Catherine Deneuve in the film Les Parisiennes . 1964: Le Pénitencier : House of The Rising Sun and Repeating Camera Shots. 1966: Noir C'est Noir : A groovy cover of a one-hit-wonder, with three groovy chicks to boot. 1974: Johnny sings Ray Charles with Sammy Davis Jr., for some reason. 1985: "Quelque Chose de Tennessee" : Ah, America... trucks, cowboys, Jack Daniels, a black guy... 1990: Johnny goes glam . 2006: Hally goes hip-hop . 2007: Hallyday joins Celine Dion to massacre a classic rock and roll tune. Click if you dare . Bonne chance , Johnny. See Nick DiFonzo's Web site at www.bizarrerecords.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.