Johnny Hallyday, France’s answer to Elvis Presley, has proved that he is still rocking from beyond the grave after his posthumous album became an instant hit, selling 300,000 copies on its first day of release.
Fans of Hallyday, whose death last December at the age of 74 plunged the country into mourning, queued outside record stores to get their hands on the album when it went on sale at one minute past midnight on Friday.
Warner, his label, said the sales figure did not include downloads from streaming platforms.
The album titled “Mon pays c’est l’amour” (My Country is Love) is likely to become one of the biggest hits ever for Hallyday, who in his lifetime sold a total of 110 million albums over a 60-year career.
Its release was delayed by several months by a bitter inheritance feud between his two biological children, Laura Smet and David Hallyday, and his fourth and last wife Laeticia, 43.
The singer left his entire estate to Laeticia, and their two adopted daughters, Jade and Joy, but nothing to his two eldest children from previous relationships.
Both sides have been battling it out in court since the singer’s death from lung cancer.
Laura Smet and David Hallyday also took legal action to demand to have a right to oversee the production of the new album of ten songs that swing from rock to blues to rockabilly.
But a court rejected their suit and it was Laeticia who took control of the record. On Friday said she had been trying to negotiate with the pair.
“We are trying (but) it is complicated, because a lot of things have been orchestrated,” she said.
“There is a lot of hate, contempt, humiliation, lies, which hurts. It’s difficult to hear, it’s difficult to suffer that,” she told TF1 television.
Laeticia also said she had further plans to keep alive the memory of the singer whose music formed a soundtrack to the lives of generations of French people, even though he was little known in the English-speaking world.
“We have lots of projects… A museum (dedicated to the crooner), a music school… That was his dream, this music school,” she told RTL radio.