the time when Johnny Hallyday started lighting the fire

The phenomenal career of the Idol of young people on April 18, 1960 in “At the school of the stars”, by Aimée Mortimer. Madelen proposes to discover or rediscover this historic moment.

Johnny Hallyday? It will be a flash in the pan!“. Critics do not fail to say it loud and clear, even to write it, in 1960, the day after the release of a first 45 rpm, immediately banned on a radio whose target is nevertheless young people: Europe n ° 1 . Lucien Morisse, artistic director of this station born four years earlier, broke the vinyl live, adding in a firm and unequivocal tone: “VYou will never hear this singer on our air again!“.

He quickly changed his mind, and today we know the reason for this anger: the main title of this disc Itsi bitsi small bikini had just been recorded, at the same time, by Dalida, then engaged to Lucien Morisse. At the time, it was common for a chorus to have several performers in parallel, but in this specific case, this duplication bordered on the crime of lèse-majesté. This mishap had little impact on a career that really began on April 18, 1960 in ATstar schoolby Aimée Mortimer.

Read alsoTwenty songs by Johnny Hallyday that have marked history

In this TV show, then fortnightly, it was traditional for a famous artist to sponsor a beginner. That’s how that night, before he interprets let the girls , Line Renaud introduces her godson, stating that he is a young American who does not speak a word of French. Usually not very talkative, his interlocutor is even quieter than usual. He perfectly plays a game whose rules were established only a few hours before the recording of the sequence. We now know that the original sponsor withdrew the same morning. His name was never disclosed and he never bragged about it either. This is how Line Renaud, called in for reinforcement in a disaster, responded present, and has never regretted it.

The beginnings of Johnny… on L’INA

The sequence was shot a few days earlier and Johnny watched it at Golf Drouot, where he has been a resident, even a member, since the arrival of Henri Leproux at the head of this legendary club. The oldest still remember this stranger who swayed in front of the jukebox to the rhythm of Elvis Presley’s rocks. It is rue Drouot that he receives his mail and his telephone calls. Its secretariat is regularly provided by Colette, Henri Leproux’s wife.

Eddy Mitchell the mainstay of Johnny’s gang

There “gang to Johnnywill be formed little by little. Eddy Mitchell is the pillar and will remain, over the decades, the most faithful friend. Regularly, they attend, on Friday evening at the Springboard, an audition in front of the public rewarded with a diploma, awarded by a jury responsible for determining the best. Johnny received this award in the symbolic form of a “honorary diploma“. He never found the time to get on this stage, no doubt because, from the start, he performed on many others.

This is how some still keep in a corner of their memory, that evening in 1961 when, according to a legend that has survived the decades, the public broke the seats of the Palais des Sports for them. The truth is different. This exceptional concert, presented as the 1st Rock and Roll Festival, was in fact a pretext to promote artists under contract with Vogue Records. The event was organized by Claude Wolf, press officer and future husband of Petula Clark. He put together a set that didn’t cost a fortune: all the players were paid 500 francs, including Johnny. For him, who then lives in a modest two-room apartment in the Batignolles district, this is not a negligible sum.

Happy to be in this prestigious room in front of nearly 4,000 people, he gives his all. The public, standing, is just as unleashed. Because they need room to dance, these young people break down the barriers placed in front of the stage. The mess is such that the police, called in reinforcements, intervene. She thus transforms a moment of joy and madness into a general fight with bolts and chains on one side, and truncheons on the other. Once calm has returned, a young impresario joins him in his dressing room and offers him to become his manager.

Bargain ! It will later be that of Claude François and, above all, of Mireille Mathieu. “The winner of this evening is Johnny Hallyday, he had to be separated by the police from his countless fans“wrote the next day, the journalist”music” of Figaro. His first article in the daily, at a time when he had barely started lighting the fire.

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