Friday, December 15, 2006

Go, Johnny, Go

The Elvis of France:

French rock legend Johnny Hallyday has applied for Belgian nationality, and will give up his French passport if he succeeds.

The singer lodged a naturalisation application in November last year. Hallyday, 62, was born Jean-Philippe Smet in Cite Malesherbes, Paris, France to a Belgian father, but only recently realised he did not have dual nationality. His father, Leon Smet, had not been married to his mother but another woman at the time of Hallyday's birth and so could not pass on his citizenship.

....the gravelly-voiced, leather-jacketed, Harley Davidson aficionado once dubbed the French Elvis never made any impact beyond the Francophone markets. His music is blatantly derivative, defiantly American and often consists of French language covers of stateside hits such as Long Tall Sally and Roll Over Beethoven.

That was a year ago, and the legend has decided he can't wait for the process to run its course, so:

A decision by French rock star Johnny Hallyday to settle in Switzerland for tax reasons provoked strong reactions among politicians Thursday, including from Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

...."Like many French people, I've had enough of the taxes we are forced to pay and this is it, I've made my choice," Hallyday told French radio during his launch of a Hallyday fashion line in a Paris boutique.

Earlier, L'Express magazine reported that Hallyday would henceforth spend six months and a day per year in Switzerland, just enough to escape the French taxman.

Despite Hallyday's claim that "I love France", French politicians were scandalized by the tax move.

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