Johnny Hallyday, American at Heart

French singer Johnny Hallyday grew up with Elvis and Chuck Berry, and passed away on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at the age of 74. "That’s where all the music I love comes from. From the blues," said this child of rock music and American culture in 1972.

"His father is American, and his mom is French," said Line Renaud when she presented Johnny Hallyday for his first television appearance on April 18, 1960. And she wasn’t completely wrong. Johnny never really knew his biological Belgian father. Instead, Lee Halliday, an American dancer married to the singer’s cousin, was his "adoptive father." Thanks to this role model, the young boy (born Jean-Philippe Smet) discovered American culture and rock ‘n’ roll, and slowly became "Johnny," a nickname picked by Lee. "My culture has always been American, the culture of Nashville and Memphis," said the singer in an interview prior to his 2012 U.S. tour.

Johnny was dancing the twist to Bill Haley and Eddie Cochran before he was even ten. "Lee’s parents lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and


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