Les Golden Stars


Des Golden Strings aux Golden Stars (1960-1963)
In 1960 Johnny Hallyday, the French Rock singer, was already a big showman. He needed a good backing to let him win a growing teenager audience. The first band that started, as regular back group was the Golden Strings. They were likely set up in 1960. They were recording for the same record label as Johnny, the Vogue label.

The Golden Strings were Jean Pierre Martin ,lead guitar, Claude Horn, guitar, Antonio Rubio , on bass like his fellow from Louis Belloni, on drums came of the French southern harbour Marseille, and Jean Tosan was on sax. Jean Tosan is the only musician to have followed Johnny Hallyday up to 1964 with the Showmen. He even took part to the London session with the London all stars in 1961.

They cut two instrumental records: Hit the road jack, What d I say and the Johnny’s hits souvenirs souvenirs and a cover of be bop a lula. It was followed in the same year by their second and last Vogue record with rebel rouser, les joies du monde, Golden twist and Tulsa twist.

Golden twist was penned by Jean Pierre Martin who was also to help some session guy to make Les Drivers records with Golden twist. It was in 1962.

Back to 1961 The Golden Strings played all over France backing Johnny and establishing him as the French number one Rocker. In 1961 Johnny went in trouble with the Vogue label which did pay too much attention to the cost of the session and not enough to the growing need a new sound with a true orchestra. Johnny left the vogue label and finally was signed by Philips, which promised to cut the records in London, and in the USA.

The Golden Strings followed Johnny and backed him in studio session too: wap dou wap, twisting USA, si tu me téléphones, danse le twist and retiens la nuit. Then they made the usual long summer tour and various tour in the French speaking countries.

In 1962 the Golden string changed their name to the Golden Stars. The line up was a bit different and featured more musicians: Jean Pierre Martin left and was replaced by another guy from Marseille: Claude Djaoui, on lead, the other new change and the presence now of Marc Hemmler on piano and organ. Marc came from the Jazz scene, he was born in Switzerland and had a strong musical back ground. He played in Paris in the Mars club in the Champs de Mars area close to the Eiffel tower.

The best moment of their career was the Olympia 1962 where they backed very professionally Johnny Hallyday who now was an established showman. They cut two records on the Philips label in 1962. They recorded another cover of Rebel Rouser, by the light of the silvery moon, last night and when the gun was loaded. The second EP featured Hully gully firehouse, Mashed potatoes, Madison chez Johnny and Marc’s Madison, both penned by Marc Hemmler.

At the end of 1963 Bobbie Clarke, Vince Taylor’s drummer joined Johnny to replace Louis Belloni. Then Johnny wanted to give a more American look to his band and he hired Joey Greco and Ralph Di Pietro, two New Yorker guitarist. the band changed its name in Joey Greco & the showmen.

After a fabulous year 1964, the army drafted Johnny and the Showmen disbanded. Marc Hemmler played for a while with Sylvie Vartan’s band then became a session man played with pop singer before coming back to his roots: the Jazz. He stayed some 20 years with the world famous violinist Stephane Grapelli.


Discographie (60)

Les Golden Stars

  • (Pas de titre) (Philips EP 432 587)
    By the light of the silvery moon / The gun was loaded / Last night.
  • (Pas de titre) (Philips EP 432 800)
    Marc’s madison / Madison chez Johnny / Mashed potatoes / Hully Gully firehouse.


  • (Pas de titre) (Vogue EPL 7919)
    Hit the road Jack / What’d I say / Be-Bop-A-Lula / Souvenirs souvenirs.
  • (Pas de titre) (Vogue EPL 7922)
    Golden twist / Tulsa Twist / Rebel rouser / Les joies du monde.

Discographie (CD)

  • Olympia 63 (Pas de référence)
    Rebel Rouser / By the Light of the Silvery Moon / Last Night / The Gun was Loaded / Hully Gully Firehouse / Mashed Potatoes / Madison chez Johnny / Marc’s Madison / Rebel Rouser.
  • Les orchestres de Johnny Hallyday (Universal Twistin the Rock 586 021)
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