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French music icon Johnny Hallyday, credited with having brought rock 'n' roll to France in the early 1960s, died in Paris on Dec. 6 at age 74 . His funeral on Dec. 9 brought nearly a million people into the streets of the French capital. The first of his 57 albums was entitled "Hello, Johnny". Herein lies the beguiling feature of the funeral of Johnny Hallyday, France's national singer: his ability to stage-manage his destiny, right up the final hour, and the star power that his being retained even in death.There was the spirit of France: young and old, the French president and two of his predecessors, the novelists Philippe Labro and Daniel Rondeau, celebrities, artists, fans from 50 years ago wearing Apache fringe, a remembrance of the striking miners of Lorraine, the words of Jacques Prevert, tears shed by ordinary people.And all of them seemed to be under Hallyday's influence still: The great actor who was suddenly starkly human and at a loss. Hallyday was the child of a generation that watched American GIs enter Paris and that invented for itself an American ascendance.
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