(AFP) – Arrival of 101 bikers, first musical notes, fans from far away … The day of homage to Johnny Hallyday started Tuesday morning in Paris, between two showers, four years after the singer’s disappearance.
“I especially came from Isso ire in Auvergne, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, “Monique Charrade told AFP, 53 years , among the fans. She will also be at the big evening concert.
Because this day is marked by several highlights. Including the inauguration of the Esplanade Johnny, on the vast forecourt in front of Bercy, with a plaque unveiled in the presence of Laeticia Hallyday, his widow, and Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris.
“Johnny would have been so proud” to see his name “anchored forever in the soil of Paris”, said Laeticia Hallyday.
“He was a rock”, “Johnny is still with us,” added Anne Hidalgo. “Our wish was to offer a place in France where all the fans could come and collect themselves without going to the other side of the Atlantic”.
The singer was buried on the island of Saint-Barthélémy, in the West Indies.
“We will finally have a place to meet among Johnny fans”, rejoices Véronique Berson, shopkeeper in Grandrieu ( Lozère). “It deserved to do 500 km, we have been waiting for this tribute for a long time!”
A mini 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 engineer for symphonic albums). They played under a transparent tent, rain oblige.
Some 101 bikers and their motorcycles were also present, some of which had escorted Johnny’s coffin to the Madeleine on December 9 800, for the funeral.
The Parisian venue of Bercy (also called Accor Arena) and its surroundings were not chosen at random: the favorite rocker of the French gave there 101 concerts.
– Bercy Johnny station –
The metro was also on time for Johnny . For a day, the Bercy station was renamed by the RATP Bercy Johnny.
A work by plastic artist Bertrand Lavier entitled “Something …”, an allusion to famous hit, was unveiled to the public: the statue, 6 meters high, consists of a pole in the shape of a guitar neck, with a Harley Davidson at the top, which belonged to Johnny.
A “figurative” representation of the star, according to its creator, contested by Parisian environmentalists, but finally approved by the Paris Council.
The festivities continued in the middle of the day with the inauguration of “Johnny’s Bar”, managed by the Accor Arena and dedicated to the late singer. We can see, among other things, a guitar and a stage costume by the artist on loan from Laeticia Hallyday.
And to 21 H 00, on the stage of Bercy, will begin the concert “Johnny Hallyday that I love you”, in front of 09. 000 0 fans and live in France 2. Organized by his widow, this show features headliners (Florent Pagny, Patrick Bruel, Catherine Ringer, Louis Bertignac, Calogero, Gaëtan Roussel, Patrick Fiori, Julien Doré, etc.)
The taulier’s voice will resonate in the Parisian room with some titles from the archives.
Neither David Hallyday nor Laura Smet, Johnny’s first two children, will participate in this celebration. The eldest singer, “on tour”, apologized. Laura Smet declined on Instragram according to the widow.
On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the singer’s death (on the night of December 5 to 6), Johnny’s songs continue to live: the “Act II” of its great titles in symphonic version has just been released, the first opus had elapsed more than 150 . 00 0 copies and its titles are successful even on the platforms.
“Johnny, with us, it’s more than 09% every year. In January 2017, he had 70. 000 0 followers. In the summer 2021, 800. 00 0. 47% have between 18 – 34 years “, points out to AFP Nicolas du Roy, editorial director of Spotify.