Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hallyday's Almost Hit

I can recall watching an episode of the Australian music video program ‘Sounds’ back in 1987. The show was hosted by Donnie Sutherland and this particular Saturday morning he was interviewing some actor about a new comedy film he was appearing in. The film was called ‘He’s My Girl’ and the actor's name was David Hallyday. They went through the standard question and answer routine relating to how much fun it was working on the film and what a great script it was etc. They showed a clip from the film and it looked like a pretty standard buddy film/romantic comedy, except with a twist. Without going into the whole plot, the basic premise is this young musician wins a contest but the condition of accepting the prize is to bring a girl, so his best mate poses as one. Both guys then fall in love with two real women and so the cross-dressing hijinx just get zanier. Yawn! What’s that? Oh yeah sorry this is a music blog hey. Well, the music connection arises at the end of Donnie’s interview with David Hallyday. In addition to being an actor, Hallyday was an aspiring singer and had sung the title track to the film ‘He’s My Girl’. The promo clip for the song was then played and it was one of the catchiest pop-rock records I’d heard all year. So, I looked for and found the vinyl 45 single release and purchased it.

The song ‘He’s My Girl’ didn’t fare much better on the music charts than the film did at the box office. It reached #79 in the U.S. in August 1987, but missed the charts completely here in Australia. David Hallyday scored one other chart hit in the U.S. with ‘Ooh La La’ (#51) in 1991, but I haven’t tracked down a copy of that one.

A bit about the man himself, David Hallyday. He was born David Smet in France in 1966. It’s no surprise that he entered the music/film business given who his parents are. His mother is French singer Sylvie Vartan, who was hugely popular on the French pop/rock scene in the 60s. She scored several major European hits, appeared in a number of popular films, and was the darling of the French press. She married Jean-Philippe Smet, better known as Johnny Hallyday. Johnny was likewise a hugely popular singer and actor, making the newlyweds France’s ‘golden couple’. Johnny Hallyday has sold in excess of 100 million records in a career spanning nearly 50 years.

Given that family pedigree it was no surprise that son David would have a crack at showbiz. He was raised in America and his first big break did come from his role in ‘He’s My Girl’. He released his debut album ‘True Cool’ in 1988, which featured the track ‘He’s My Girl’ but didn’t yield any other hits. The album ‘Rock ‘n’ Heart’ followed in 1990, and the hit ‘Ooh La La’ was lifted from that, though the follow up ‘Tears Of The Earth’ missed the charts. A lukewarm reception followed for Hallyday’s next couple of music projects, including working with Erik Godal under the names Blind Fish and Novocaine. He gravitated back to France in the late 90s, releasing the French language albums ‘Un Paradis/Un Enfer’ in 1999, and ‘Revelation’ in 2002, to solid sales figures. Seems he’s also tried his hand as a driver in the European GT-series at the wheel of a Ferrari-430 (hopefully not while trying to sing).

Though he certainly didn’t ascend to the career heights of his famous parents, David Hallyday seems to have carved out a moderately successful career as singer/songwriter/racing driver in Europe. His most recent album is a self titled effort released in 2007.

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