Europe French rock star played on American persona

For three generations of French people, rock 'n' roll star Johnny Hallyday was a window on America and a chance to dream. A million people attended his funeral cortege in Paris this weekend.

Michel Euler/ AP

Until last week, most Americans had no idea who Johnny Hallyday was and probably could not have cared less – but the feelings were anything but mutual. “Johnny,” as his fans called him, was France’s version of Elvis; his life-long love affair with America not only shaped his musical style but was key to explaining how the French came to idolize him.