Yeah... I always wandered what non-French people thought of our national pride, French pop's number one star... guess they haven't even ever heard of him... he must look to you like nothing but a funny curiosity at best...
Well, gotta admit: I'm a fan. This is something you shall never say publicly if you want to socialize in trendy places. NEVER.
He started as some kind of cheap Elvis (but without the King's depth), rocking the very conservative craddle of French music (a situation that, sadly, never really evolved) with his juvenile charisma, singing mostly translations of UK and US hits (remember this was a time globalization was not what it is today, so those songs didn't sound like covers to people who were not aware of the originals). Of course almost all those songs are inferios to the originals, but they still have a refreshing taste today. At the end of the sixties, Johnny evolved into a real cool Cream-like hard blues with the help of Micky Jones who was his main composer before he formed Foreigner (something that shall never be forgiven) - Jimmy Page also provided some guitars, like he did for many French artists at that time. This is by far his best period, the one that all those who trash-talk Johnny should listen to before they realize they're morons, bend down on their knees and beg for mercy. No, I'm not going too far.
And then... well I don't wanna talk about what happened after the seventies. It's so awful, let's just simply pretend it never happened. There's enough embarrasing stuff there to make people who think he's ridiculous sound like they're right. And no, I don't wanna discuss politics either.
Today he is a bit like Rod Stewart, the kind of guy you respect cause he's part of History, but who you don't really care for anymore. With maybe a few exceptions, he hasn't released a decent album in almost thirty years - still, even at his crappiest moments, there's always a gem that comes out to remind how high the star used to shine. And his shows are always a lot of fun. For both good and bad reasons, yes.House of the rising sun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdjNQeajmGwCheveux longs idees courtes
(Johnny invents the anti-hippie protest song... weird):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0tVWmlRWQYQue je t'aime
Toute la musique que j'aime
(a true masterpiece):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3uo9LhSW20Old time rock n roll
(my god, on keyboards, it's... ):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7OzHe_-VVAMa jolie Sarah
(another true masterpiece):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hcg3qOob_sSweet home Alabama
(with anti-kkk lyrics!):
(VX's personal favorite):
(with one of the best French pop band ever, Rita Mitsouko):
and let's end on a magnificient jewel : If I were a carpenter
, in duet with Emmylou Harris: