Unusual that the front page of Israeli newspapers is dominated by music news – but in the last week it’s two times that headlines are about entertainers. And its nothing good.
Arik Einstein, widely recognized as one of the most influential cultural figures in the history of the State of Israel, the father of Israeli rock, died Tuesday nite of a heart attack. His music is classic and the man loved the Land of Israel immensely. As Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “You said Arik Einstein, you said Israel. Arik was a wonderful singer and a wonderful person. The songs he wrote and sang were the soundtrack of Israel. I loved him very much. The State of Israel bids a sad farewell to a culture giant.”
As one who works extensively with celebrities at my PR Agency, observing Einstein’s humble nature was admirable – he stopped performing live in the early 1980s, and said: “I performed from the age of 18 until I was 42…I wasn’t exactly a stage animal. I was held back by the embarrassment, the bashfulness, and it became more evident as the years went by… By the way, when I say bashfulness, I’m not proud of it… I wish I could grab a microphone and sing like a Sinatra, but I don’t have what it takes, and a person should adapt to his capabilities. On the other hand, in the studio, I blossom. That’s my natural habitat, where I’m not. The problem is that this profession has its field mines: success is accompanied by fame and a form of adoration, and I really don’t get along with that. That’s where I draw the line. It’s pleasant to be loved, but not more.”
His songs are a staple of Israel – of Jewish music – and his emotions bleed through his music. Two of my favorites which I have listened to many times during my life at different times: “Ani v’Atah” (You and I) “You and I will change the world”, which throughout my days as an ideologue of the Betar movement of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, as an entrepreneur and other points of life – have played this song thousands of times. It always seems to give me strength, hope and courage.
My other favorite Einstein song is “Uf Gozal” (“Fly Away Young Chick”) which can leave me crying as a son remembering my mother, and as a father loving my kids and wanting to protect them and be with them. So many lessons to be drawn from this, and other of his songs. The man had so much depth, decency and love for Israel.
Sad state of affairs as an Israeli headline said: “Arik Einstein departed, and left us with Eyal Golan.”