Tin Pan Allee: Frere Johnny


From Cannes to Calais, he has caused tumult and bloodshed. Hoods in Paris, inspired by the sounds from his lips, tore three subway cars apart in his honor. But the words that provoked riot and rampage were not, as one might expect, Algerian battle cries. They were "itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini," sung by Johnny Hallyday, France's first and only authentic rock 'n' roller, the Elvis Presley of Thither Gaul.

Despite his Anglo-exotic surname, Johnny Hallyday is thoroughly French, and his fans easily outnumber De Gaulle's. The highest-paid...

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