There are artists who, beyond their own destiny, have shaped an entire landscape and a whole section of history. Capable of unleashing entire crowds, galvanizing the very young and shaking up established codes, they have fully seized their destiny to inscribe their name in a collective narrative. Johnny Hallyday is one of them: a true idol of the young, an undisputed icon who has stood the test of time and fashion, he is a benchmark for generations of French men and women. He is the man who established rock in France, drawing his references from the United States he loved so much, and importing their sense of show and rhythm to France. In composing songs as furious as they were powerful, Johnny Hallyday also turned to instruments straight out of the States. Gretsch and Gibson models have long been favored by the Taulier, who placed them at the center of his stage performances.
Johnny's love affair with Gretsch guitars is a long one: he played the brand's models right up to his last rock concerts. In 1975, he played an orange Gretsch 6120 Nashville, before acquiring this white 1975 White Falcon as a duplicate. From late 1976 onwards, our White Falcon was used alternately for performances and stage outfits. It is likely to have been one of the first guitars of this model acquired and played by Johnny Hallyday. While Requiem pour un fou, released in February 1976, and Gabrielle, released in the autumn, were being played on all French radio stations, Johnny Hallyday began touring with this White Falcon, which he played on stage from the end of 1976 through to his 1978 summer tour. This guitar is an exceptional piece of French music history, and stands as a direct witness to Johnny Hallyday's glorious performances.
Having played an orange Gretsch Chet Atkins Nashville on stage since 1975, Johnny Hallyday reaffirmed his love for the American brand with this White Falcon. Present on stage from late 1976 to the summer of 1978, this guitar was played alternately according to his outfits and needs. Numerous period photographs show both instruments on stage and in Johnny's hands, for whom Gretsch hollow-body electric guitars have always held an important place. In a way, this White Falcon launched his love affair with the model, which he would play throughout his extraordinary career - even receiving a customized model from Gretsch for his 69th birthday.
Immaculately white with shiny gold edges, this White Falcon was photographed many times between 1976 and 1978. It even features in the book "Johnny: ses concerts, ses plus belles histoires d'amour" by Michel Leclercq, the photographer who followed Johnny for over half a century on the stages of France, Belgium and Switzerland. The guitar appears as a privileged creative tool, blending perfectly with the French Elvis' stage presence and his aesthetic, straight out of the United States.
To add to the guitar's legacy, it later passed into the hands of Rick Parfitt, of the famous English band Status Quo, to whom Johnny gave the guitar during a trip to Paris in 1981. While the guitar was not played on stage by Rick, it traveled with the band on tour, was used in hotel rooms and dressing rooms, and occasionally in soundchecks as a warm-up instrument. This Gretsch White Falcon has accompanied two musical icons in their respective countries: initially a stage instrument in the spotlight for Johnny Hallyday's concerts, the guitar then accompanied Rick Parfitt and Status Quo's tours after he received it from the Taulier's hands. This guitar is a veritable piece of history to be discovered at Matt's Guitar Shop, with its imposing sound and dizzying history.