Tuesday, 5 December 2017

My Johnny story

"On a tous en nous quelque chose de Johnny"

"We all have a bit of Johnny in us..." wrote Emmanuel Macron this morning after learning of the death of French rock star Johnny Hallyday.

Even me, from a country far, far away.

I encountered Johnny on my first visit to France as a young, impressionable assistante d'anglais. Everything in that year was new, challenging, exciting and terrifying in equal measures. With no money to my name, buying CDs was out of the question, but I was aware of this icon of French music. I had no real idea whether I was supposed to admire him or not, but listen I did.

My favourite song was Laura, written for his daughter in 1986.

In 2009, it was the turn of my husband, and my three children to return to France with me and prior to our departure from Australia, I introduced them to Johnny.

Today, like so many, I react with sadness and say chapeau Johnny.

PS Johnny himself used these words in relation to Jacques Chirac in 1988. A neat way for Macron to politically salute Monsieur Hallyday.


  1. Bonjour Catherine.You are very kind to pay tribute to Johnny Halliday our french legend of Rock'n roll. As you are always a deep lover of all things french I am not surprised that you appreciate this " bête de scène "! Even though he was mocked in most english spoken countries as the " French Elvis ". But not you for sure.You have the same sadness as any french women... PS : ma chanson favorite de Johnny est " Retiens la nuit" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P99T_R0EQw

    1. Retiens la nuit - a very early song for sure. To be fair, when I arrived first in France in 1987, I was really not sure of what I thought of him! But, the music and his voice won me over and it has been a fascinating story to witness since. I really do feel as if something special to France has been lost.