By Mourad Teyeb
French first rock'n'roll singer Johnny Hallyday is to participate in the 20th France-Tunis Rally slated for 31 March to 18 April, the organisers said.
Hallyday will drive a 4x4 Mercedes Benz from Nice in the company of his father-in-law Andre Boudou as his navigator.
Johnny Hallyday was an unabashed imitator of American pop, rockabilly and R&B. Hallyday specialized in French-language cover versions of hits by artists such as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, and Sam Cooke, etc. While (as a French singer) his performances could never hope to match the sizzle of the original artists.
His commercial success in the late 1950s and early '60s opened the door which made rock music acceptable to French ears. Hallyday set the tone which other artists would follow - some singers, like Claude Francois and Hallyday's then-wife,Sylvie Vartan.
Hallyday also stuck closely to cover versions, while others such as Francoise Hardy and Serge Gainbourg began to push the boundaries and made rock-pop music with a distinctly French character.
In a later incarnation, Hallyday went on to make several Ricky Nelson-ish roots pop albums, though for the most part his post-'60s work is drekky, negligible Euro-pop – Albawaba.com
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