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A million take to Paris streets for Johnny Hallyday’s funeral

French president builds emotional address calling for people tribute, as singers torso is driven through capital on final journey

To the blast of electric guitars, the revving of Harley-Davidsons, applause and tears, France bade an emotional parting to 74 -year-old Johnny Hallyday, France’s rock and roll” national hero” on Saturday.

The centre of Paris ground to a halt as the wave of national heartbreak that had overwhelmed the two countries in accordance with the death of the vocalist, known as the French Elvis, on Wednesday morning finally broke.

In scenes resonant of the mass mourn in Britain following the death of Princess Diana, police said a million fans had lined the route of the funeral procession, which was accompanied by Hallyday’s band playing live, as it induced its style from the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Elysees to Place de la Concorde and on to the church of La Madeleine.

Pallbearers
Pallbearers carry the coffin of Johnny Hallyday from La Madeleine church. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/ Reuters

Hallyday’s widow, Laeticia, and their two adopted children Jade, 13, and Joy, nine, followed the cortege. Fans, many in tears, hurled blooms at the hearse.

Hallyday’s older children, David Hallyday and Laura Smet, awaited on the steps of the church to receive the coffin.

A visibly emotional Emmanuel Macron, a Hallyday fan who had called for a” people’s tribute” to the singer, told the crowds:” You are here for him, for Johnny Hallyday. After 60 years of career, 1,000 chants, 50 albums … you are still there, still here, always there. I know you’re waiting for him to jump out from somewhere, he’s on a bike, he comes towards you and starts the first song and you start singing with him .”

As the crowd applauded, whistled and hollered” Johnny, Johnny”, he continued:” Yes, this December Saturday is sad, but you have to be here for Johnny because from the beginning Johnny was there for you. In instants of their own lives one of his songs translated something “youve had” in your heart … an indefinable humanity that made us seem less alone. That’s how Johnny came into “peoples lives” … he became a necessary presence, a pal, a brother .”

The
The French chairperson, Emmanuel Macron, delivers his address. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/ EPA

The French president had earlier described Hallyday as a” national hero. He concluded by telling the singer’s household:” Johnny belonged to you, to the public, to France .”

As the unadorned white coffin was carried into the church, the crowd continues to chant.

Inside, the former chairwomen Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, “ministers ” Edouard Philippe, former ministers, first lady Brigitte Macron, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and stars from the entertainment world, including Jean Reno, were among the mourners.

Hallyday’s longtime pal, the writer Philippe Labro, described the vocalist in his address as” timid, humble and modest “.” He brushed aside disaster and self-destruction and this made him worthy of respect and admiration ,” he said.” Johnny became a man through his errors .”

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ music/ 2017/ dec/ 09/ johnny-hallyday-funeral-paris-tributes-emmanuel-macron

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We wouldn’t like to live next door to this guy.

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