Johnny Hallyday: who was French rock star, when was he famous, and when is Beyond Rock documentary on Netflix?

A new docuseries will explore the life of one of France’s rock icons

A new documentary series on French rock and roll star Johnny Hallyday is making its way to Netflix.

Johnny Hallyday: Beyond Rock is an intimate exploration of the life and career of one of France’s most prominent musicians.

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Musician Johnny Hallyday is the featured musician behind Netflix’s latest docuseries Beyond Rock (Photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

The series follows Hallyday through archival film footage and interviews and describes the musician in his own words.

He led an illustrious musical career spanning over 60 years before his death in 2017.

This is what you need to know about Johnny Hallyday - and when you can watch the Netflix documentary.

When can I watch Johnny Hallyday: Beyond Rock?

The docuseries Johnny Hallyday: Beyond Rock is available on Netflix from 29 March 2022.

The five part series covers all aspects of Johnny Hallyday’s life, from childhood to divorces and  his attempt at an American breakthrough.

What are each of the episodes about?

Episode 1: The Myth, explores Johnny’s reinvention as a rock and roller and how fame and a new family bring new pressures into his life.

Episode 2: Live Fast, Die Young sees Hallyday return from the depths of despair and how this helps him embrace new sounds and perform electrifying concerts.

In Episode 3: Reborn, Hallyday has been ruined and divorced. It’s now the 80s and Johnny Hallyday is looking for new inspiration, that he finds in actress Nathalie Baye and songwrite Michel Berger.

Johnny Halliday performing to fans in 1962 (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Following a wave of success, Hallyday finds himself in a new romance with his best friends’ daughter. The musician decides to live in America with the hopes of playing Vegas in Episode 4: America.

In Episode 5: Immortal, Hallyday has fulfilled his ambition of performing in Vegas. He releases a new album and performs a series of spectacular performances at Stade de France.

Who is Johnny Hallyday?

Johnny Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet was born in 1943.

He was abandoned as a baby by his Belgian actor father and fashion model mother and was then raised by his aunt, whose two daughters were ballerinas.

When one of his cousins got a job in London, the whole family moved over to the UK.

Whilst in London one of his cousins fell in love with an American ‘cowboy’ called Lee Halliday who then taught Jean-Philippe how to play guitar.

Johnny Hallyday surrounded by fans at Orly Airport in Paris in 1962 (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The musician was greatly influenced by the cowboy and adopted part of his name for his stage name.

At age nine Hallyday was already performing on stage and would sing songs during the costume changes for his cousins.

At 14 Hallyday was introduced to the music of Elvis Presley, telling USA today that "The first time I saw him, I was paralysed."

Presley’s music highly influenced the young musician who then set his sights on stardom.

In 1959 Hallyday appeared on the Paris Cocktail television show and finally gave the musician his big break.

Hallyday released his first single Laisse les Filles in 1960, but his follow up release Souvenirs Souvenirs finally gave him his break.

His debut album ‘Hello Johnny’ also debuted in 1960 featuring songs including Itsy Bitsy, Petit Bikini.

Two years after this break Hallyday became the highest paid music star in France.

Hallyday then served in the military for a brief period in 1964 and when he came back, found himself trying to rival The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

He became a musical survivor to the changing music scene by adapting his work to more psychedelia and prog rock.

Johnny Hallyfay performing in Paris September 1992 (Photo credit: FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images)

In the 70s Hallyday then adapted into the more comfortable styles of blues, country and balladry that helped the musician sustain his career.

The star’s personal life lead to much interest from the public as he was divorced four times, attempted suicide twice and was involved in a devastating motorcycle accident.

This however only made fans love him more and he continued to grow in popularity.

Hallyday was most known for his songs "Le Spécialiste" , "Pour Moi Tu Es La Seule" , "Love Me Tender".

Johnny Hallyday released 111 albums over the span of his career, including Rock ‘n’ Roll Attitude and La Peur.

How did Johnny Hallyday die?

Johnny Hallyday was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009 and underwent treatment to try and save his life.

Hallyday underwent various treatments to treat his cancer, including being put into a medically induced coma for advanced treatment.

Although Hallyday was initially diagnosed with colon cancer, in 2017 the musician passed away from lung cancer.

A young girl pays tribute to the late Johnny Holiday during a mass in his memory in 2018 (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

Before his death the musician sold more than 110 million records and even performed to a million people as he took part in a musical cavalcade down the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Hallyday was the father to four children, two of whom he adopted with his fourth wife from Vietnam.