Johnny - national treasure or past his sell by date?


(Peter Bird) #1

Saturday evening on TF1 was a special evening as Johnny Hallyday celebrated his 70th birthday with a special concert at a packed Théatre de Paris. A recent poll suggested the ageing Rock 'n Roller was out of favour by the majority of the french public, both young an old but I have to admit quite shamelessly that I thing he's alsolutely brill ! Ok, the voice is a bit dodgy and yes, the botox and 'lifting' staff have been working overtime but for me he still is a living legend who is as good an entertainer as anything else currently doing the rounds in France. A special treat indeed for his fans especially as some of the great mans mates made cameo appearences including 89 year old Charles Aznavour struggling with Parkinsons and the mere slip of a lad, ex rebel Florent Pagny who still has the presence on stage. Great performances all round with son of Johnny, David singing a duet plus reminding us how good a drummer he is with a percussion lesson with other invited high quality musicians.


Yes, a memorable evening but the question i'm asking is, how do we rate Johnny nowadays ? Is he still a french legend or just a 'has been' living on past glories ? and, with oldies like Johnny still doing the rounds, which other senior artistes or bands are still producing the goods on stage ? With Johnny I would like to add Status Quo to the list of legends still able to perform at the highest level. I first saw them in the early '70s and saw them again in Limoges a couple of years back and I have to say they were better than before !


So, which ageing artistes or bands still doing the rounds still have 'it' and which ones should seriously consider calling it a day ?


(Ian Cowburn) #2

As in 'cute hoor', Irish shyster style :)

Nah it was the one already a bit lower down, it prolly didn't like getting shifted up higher.


(Peter Bird) #3

"the hoor" ?

Not too pricey I hope mate ?


(Ian Cowburn) #4

From the Springfields, wasn't he? Always seemed a good mate to have in a CSN&Y outfit.

Finally managed to get the hoor to stay put in its new lodging with some judicious application of l'outil. Now have to add some bits of additional floating parquet in a cupboard, where the gimlet eye of the Inspectrice detected a hidden fault :)

PS then it's apéro time, you know where the back door is


(Peter Bird) #5

Graham Nash is a very underrated songwriter too. Overshadowed by CSY IMO.

"We can change the world"


(Peter Bird) #6

A bit like the MIMCO (Marconi International Marine Co.) toolbox ! A hammer and an AvoMeter with a broken screwdriver was all we had on board.


(Ian Cowburn) #7

Also busy right now trying to fit a recalcitrant lock plate on a door jamb (had to move it to fit a new door), and the Clash are pretty good for energetic bashings (scientifically aimed of course). French handymen around here call the hammer just "L"Outil", the only one of any consequence :)


(Ian Cowburn) #8

I think seeing Grace was the first time I understood what fatal attraction meant.

Yes I saw something about that to with Crosby. He "Almost Cut (His) Hair" that time :)

There's some of the recent gig on YouTube, creditable showing yes.

"Teach your twisted speech to the unbelievers"

"You start wearing blue and brown, waiting for the clampdown"

Got to be some sense in that, at any rate :)


(Peter Bird) #9

Just finished listening to your list Ian.

Grace could have me too if she played her cards right...

CSNY magic, rumour has it Crosby is 'clean' nowadays !!! I've a dvd of their live gig a couple of years back. They can still do it.

Couldn't really get into the Clash


(Ian Cowburn) #10

Raas, man

"Peter Tosh RIP September 11, 1987"

But Marley was from Maroon Country...there was a recent film, called just "Marley", a lot filmed in Maroon Country.


(Peter Bird) #11

Have to say I much preferred Peter Tosh.


(Ian Cowburn) #12

"Bob Marley RIP May 11, 1981"


(Peter Bird) #13

Difficult to argue with any of that. 'Proper' music for me ended in about 1979...


(Ian Cowburn) #14

*nods wisely*

Maybe this guy understood most of it :

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/joe-strummer/biography

*not even a single day has been comparable since*

Epitaph material


(Brian Milne) #15

I only have Hell's Angels and Kingdom of Fear, read some of the Gonzo Papers long ago.

Who does understand what happened? The 1960s and eraly 70s were different to anything anybody living had known before and for those of us who lived through those years not even a single day has been comparable since. I wish it on the younger generation though.


(Ian Cowburn) #16

I have all the Gonzo Papers, in American editions, proudly scouted out by No1 daughter in NY when she was on a "team-building" overseas seminar with her Barcelona-based SAV company. She's the one who once texted me after having taken a bus tour of Budapest that I recommended to her : "on doit toujours écouter son Papa"

*proud*

PS dig that "History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit" once more :)


(Brian Milne) #17

Including people who wrote like that...


(Ian Cowburn) #18

I surely do, Brian. Hissing subliminal electrical silence. You only get those moments occasionally, I had one of those in a Beefheart concert once, too.

Tonsilitis? Was ist das? Some Kraftwerk oniric experience?

Edit : this came out at the wrong "reply" sequence

*mumbles at fumbled techo application*


(Ian Cowburn) #19

Nice to know, seems to fit somehow...

Wasn't there something otherwordly about all these all-time giants springing up like Odin's warriors all at the same time?

Hunter Thompson had a good one about that :

"It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era - the kind of peak that never comes again. The sixties was a very special time to be part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run... but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time. Whatever it meant....

"History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of 'history' it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a fine long flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time - and which never explain, in retrospect, what really happened.

"There was madness in any direction, at any hour....You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning...

"And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense ; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum ; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave......

"So now, you can go up a steep hill and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

From : "High-Water Mark", by Hunter S. Thompson, Las Vegas, 1976 ; in, "Songs of the Doomed, The Gonzo Papers vol. 3", Summit Books (USA), 1990 ; Picador (UK), 1991.


(Brian Milne) #20

Do you remember when Jimi came on, started playing and over half a million people went totally quiet? A kind of 'Ahhhh!' moment.

Was that you doing a tonsillectomy?