“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world”: Johnny Hallyday fans gathered in Paris, four years after the singer’s death

Inauguration of an esplanade, big concert in Bercy, fans from far away… A day of homage to Johnny Hallyday took place in Paris, Tuesday, September 14, four years after the singer’s death.

“I came especially from Issoire in Auvergne, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world”Monique Charrade, 53, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). This day was marked by several highlights, including the inauguration of the Johnny-Hallyday esplanade, on the vast forecourt in front of Bercy, with a plaque unveiled in the presence of Laeticia Hallyday, the singer’s widow, and Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris.

Also read the obituary: Johnny Hallyday, from yéyé idol to national icon

“Johnny would have been so proud” to see his name “Anchored forever in the soil of Paris”, said Laeticia Hallyday. “Johnny is still with us. (…) Our wish was to offer a place in France where all the fans could come and pray without going to the other side of the Atlantic ”, added Anne Hidalgo – the singer was buried on the island of Saint-Barthélémy, in the West Indies.

The work of plastic artist Bertrand Lavier, entitled “Something from…”, offered by the Kamel Mennour gallery to the City of Paris and inaugurated on Tuesday 14 September.

“We will finally have a place to meet Johnny fans, rejoices Véronique Berson, shopkeeper in Grandrieu (Lozère). It deserved to do 600 kilometers, we had been waiting for it for a long time, this tribute! “ A short-lived concert took place in the morning in front of Bercy with the last five musicians of Johnny Hallyday, including Yarol Poupaud (guitarist) and Yvan Cassar (sound director of symphonic albums). They performed in a transparent tent, due to the rain.

Some 150 riders on their motorcycles were also present. Some of them had escorted Johnny’s coffin to the Madeleine on December 9, 2017, during his funeral. The Parisian hall of Bercy and its surroundings were not chosen at random: the rocker gave 101 concerts there. The subway was also on time for Johnny. For a day, the Bercy station was renamed by the RATP Bercy-Johnny.

” Something of… “

A work by plastic artist Bertrand Lavier entitled Something of…, an allusion to the singer’s famous hit, was unveiled to the public: the statue, 6 meters high, is composed of a pole in the shape of a guitar neck, with a Harley Davidson at the top, which belonged to Johnny. A representation “Figurative” of the star, according to its creator, contested by Parisian environmentalists, but finally approved by the Council of Paris.

The festivities continued in the middle of the day with the inauguration of Johnny’s Bar, an ephemeral bar managed by the Accor Arena and dedicated to the late singer. We can see, among other things, a guitar and a stage costume of the artist lent by Laeticia Hallyday.

Johnny Hallyday fans on the esplanade which now bears his name, in Paris, Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

At 9 p.m., on the stage of Bercy, the concert “Johnny Hallyday that I love you” will begin, in front of 10,000 fans and live on France 2. Organized by his widow, this show aligns headliners (Florent Pagny , Patrick Bruel, Catherine Ringer, Louis Bertignac, Calogero, Gaëtan Roussel, Patrick Fiori, Julien Doré…) The singer’s voice will resonate in the Parisian room with some titles taken from the archives. Neither David Hallyday nor Laura Smet, Johnny’s first two children, will participate in this party.

With the approach of the fourth anniversary of the singer’s death, which occurred on the night of December 5 to 6, 2017, Johnny’s songs continue to live on: theAct II of his great titles in symphonic version has just been released. The first opus had sold more than 500,000 copies and its titles are successful even on music streaming platforms. “Johnny, with us, it’s over 10% every year. In January 2018, he had 70,000 followers [abonnés]. In the summer of 2021, 800,000. 47% were between 18-34 years old ”, points out to AFP Nicolas du Roy, editorial director of Spotify.

Also read the analysis: “Why Johnny Hallyday was France”

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