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Friday, 21 February 2014

Friday's French music break - Johnny Hallyday, "20 ans"

Friday's French music break this week is from a singer you may well know - after all he has been around long enough.

Yes, it's that national monument or treasure (or perhaps both) depending on your tastes, Johnny Hallyday.

And the latest single from the ageing rocker "20 ans".

Johnny Hallyday (screenshot from "20 ans" official video)

It has just won "Original song of the year" at Les Victoires de la musique (the French equivalent of the Grammys) which took place at Le Zénith in Paris on February 14.

Mind you, it wasn't exactly the most popular winner of the night with whistles of disapproval from some sections of the audience as the ceremony's host, Virginie Guilhaume, opened the envelope to announce "The winner is..."

Now those rooting for the other contenders in the category in which Johnny (well he can't be referred to by his surname now, can he?) won, clearly didn't realise just how much the dinosaur of the French music scene "deserved" it.

The song - written by Christophe Miossec (lyrics) and David Ford (music) and taken from Johnny's critically acclaimed and commercially successful (that'll help keep him accustomed to his international star lifestyle of a man world famous in France) most recent album "L'Attente" (the best in a long time") had all the hallmarks of a winner about it.

Little matter that Johnny was up against two of last year's best-selling artists, Stromae with two songs "Papaoutai" and "Formidable", and Maître Gims' "J'me tire".

Forget all those statistics and the fact that both artists dominated the charts in 2013 and in fact continue to do so.

Take a look at the stats - for what they're worth.

YouTube views of the offical clips:

"Papaoutai" - 116 million +
"Formidable" - 64 million +
"J'me tire" - 51 million +
"20" ans - official audio and video combined - around one million

Chart history (taking into account sales, downloads and radio play)

"Papaoutai" - four weeks at number one and still in the charts a mere 39 weeks after its release.
"Formidable" - six weeks at number one - and still in the Top 200 charts  after 36 weeks.
"J'me tire"  - 48 weeks (and counting) in the charts - four of which were at the top.
"20 ans" -  five whole weeks in the official Top 200 peaking at 38.

Those figures seemed to count for little on the night.

What really mattered was that the song was sung by Johnny.

And even though the 70-year-old, with a career stretching back decades,  wasn't present at the ceremony, he clearly had (and has) legions of fans who made sure he wasn't forgotten.

You see, the category "Original song of the year" was open to voting from Joe Public, which meant presumably that Johnny's fans mobilised en masse to give him a win when everyone expected Stromae (who put in a stunning medley performance of his two hits and picked up three other gongs including "Male artist of the year) to sweep the board.

So a "deserved" win for the old codger and, dear reader, this week's choice for Friday's French music break.


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