The coffin of late French singer Johnny Hallyday enters the Madeleine church prior to a funeral ceremony in Paris, France, December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thibault Camus/Pool
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France paid an emotional farewell Saturday to Johnny Hallyday -- the singer who taught the country how to rock -- in a highly theatrical "people's tribute" that brought Paris to a standstill.As the huge cortege paused in front of the grand Madeleine church where French President Emmanuel Macron waited on the steps with the singer's family, the throng -- many in tears -- began chanting over and over, "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny Hallyday".Hallyday, once condemned as the rock 'n' roll "corrupter of youth" who went on to become a very French cultural icon, died of lung cancer on Wednesday.The ceremony will end with a concert by his band in front of the Madeleine, which also hosted Chopin's funeral in 1849 .That the French government had to invent a new type of ceremony to honour the singer, who was almost unknown outside the French-speaking world, speaks volumes about his pop cultural cachet. For some in Hallyday's white working-class fan base, the fact that he will be buried in the French Caribbean island of Saint Barts -- where he had a home -- added to the heartache.Philosopher Raphael Enthoven said it was difficult to overplay the effect of Hallyday's passing.
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