Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Johnny Hallyday


Johnny Hallyday. Yes, the mere mention of his name makes a lot of people roll their eyes. To hip music fans, he's poison; "Mr. Showbiz."

He’s the “French Elvis”, if by “Elvis”, you really mean Ricky Nelson.
Dude is cornball supreme and a national icon. He’s still making news (and records) in France to this day. His plastic surgery makes Kenny Rogers seem like a spokesperson for aging gracefully in comparison. And just as it seems odd to picture saccharine Kenny cutting tunes like the lovely and bugged out “Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In”, it’s equally difficult to picture Johnny Hallyday doing anything truly dope. But, low and behold he did. Like a lot of performers who change musical directions to match current trends, Johnny has some great late 60’s records, when the musical trends in rock turned lysergic.

To be fair, Johnny has always surrounded himself with good players. Like for example, Jimmy Page. Jimmy Page played on two Hallyday cuts from 1967, “A Tout Casser,” an almost funky heavy rock thing, and “Psychedelic”, which is sorta like the Yardbirds filtered thru Davie Allen exploitation movie trash. There’s no doubt it's Page because in the solo in “Psychedelic” he uses a trademark bending lick a la Albert King that he would use a few years later in one of the guitar breaks in “Whole Lotta Love.” Anyways,
I have no idea what the lyrics are about. Being that Johnny is about as mind bending as a Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast and that the EP this is from also has a cover of “San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)” on it, I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s not giving Syd Barrett a run for his money... 

2 Comments:

Blogger JD said...

Youth definitely has it's down side, PeterGunn. I'd guess by your comments, that you weren't on the music scene when Hallyday was big. He is a french icon for a reason. It's easy for youth to poke fun at older entertainers and to believe themselves insightful with their opinions, but remember that you do so with a the huge lack of understanding which is acquired only through living in that era. If you don't agree with me yet, you will eventually. May you grow to a ripe old age.

February 12, 2011 at 11:11:00 AM PST  
Blogger petergunn said...

please do not confuse my youthful playfulness for lack of appreciation... i'll bet i own more JH records than you do!

but if you can't see that JH is a burlesque parody of American singers like Elvis, Eddie Cochran, or Jackie Wilson, I can't help you...

yes, my age and nationality certainly have something to do w/ this, as I heard all the stuff JH copies (US Rock, Soul, British Invasion Rock, etc etc) my entire life before I heard him, so it was hard to listen w/ virgen ears...

JH is a French icon, but he's also a punchline. Most French people I've met roll their eyes when his name is mentioned... Gainsbourg, Durtronc, and Hardy are great, but he is considered trashy... I didn't invent these generalisations I just took note of them...

please see my 3rd JH post where I do a 70 minute mix of his best (!!!) stuff and waffle on ignorantly about WHAT IT ALL MEANS...

http://tetecarre.blogspot.com/2008/04/johnny-hallyday-pt-iii.html

poking fun,

peter

February 16, 2011 at 4:23:00 AM PST  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home