Arik Einstein, 74, Beloved Israeli Singer, Dies
Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: November 27, 2013
JERUSALEM — Arik Einstein, an Israeli singer and songwriter whose blend of folk and rock helped shape a new Hebrew popular culture and whose ballads became modern Israeli anthems, died on Nov. 26 in Tel Aviv. He was 74.
His death, of an aortic aneurysm, was announced by Gabriel Barbash, the director of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, where Mr. Einstein was taken after collapsing at home.
“There will be nobody to sing for us anymore,” Professor Barbash told reporters and fans who had gathered outside the hospital the night Mr. Einstein died, setting the tone for a national outpouring of grief and nostalgia.
The next day an estimated crowd of 10,000 poured into Rabin Square, the Tel Aviv plaza named for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, where Mr. Einstein’s coffin lay in state. His rendition of a modern Israeli ballad, “Cry for You,” became one of the motifs of the period after Mr. Rabin’s assassination in 1995.
“His songs accompanied us at all the stations of our lives — in our loves and disappointments, our ups and downs,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony in the square, adding that Mr. Einstein symbolized “the land of Israel that is beautiful, true and pure.”
Mr. Einstein, who began his recording career in the 1960s, released nearly 50 albums, sometimes in collaboration with other artists. While he largely retired from the stage several decades ago and was little known internationally, his popularity at home barely waned. Last year he was voted best Israeli singer of all time by readers of the popular newspaper Yediot Aharonot. Mr. Einstein helped forge an authentic Hebrew rock culture with popular songs like “Me and You” and “Fly, Baby Bird.”
“His sound was new,” Motti Regev, an Israeli sociologist specializing in popular music and culture, told Israel Radio. “Israeli music was mostly connected to military bands and ideological music. He sought how to connect to popular music in the world, to rock, and connect it to what was taking place in Israel.”
Mr. Einstein’s music, crossing generations and ethnic boundaries, was a comforting and unifying force in a diverse and often divided country, and the embodiment of an older, more genteel Israel that some say does not exist anymore. He was also known for his appearances in movies and comedy skits.
Arieh Einstein was born in Tel Aviv on Jan. 3, 1939, the only child of Yaakov and Devorah Einstein. His father was an actor. He became Israel’s high-jump champion as a boy and performed his military service as a member of an infantry brigade entertainment troupe.
He married Alona Shochet in 1963, and they had two daughters. The couple divorced, remarried and divorced again. She died in 2006. Mr. Einstein had two more children, a son and a daughter, with his second wife, Sima Eliyahu, an actress. She and his four children survive him.
Described by friends and acquaintances as modest and bashful, Mr. Einstein stopped performing for live audiences in the early 1980s after being seriously injured in a car accident. Though he continued recording, he largely retired from the public eye in recent years. But the newspaper Maariv announced last month that Mr. Einstein would write a weekly column for its weekend supplement. He put the final touches on his first — and last — column in the hours before he died.
Arieh "Arik" Einstein (Hebrew: אריק איינשטיין, pronounced [ˈaʁik ˈaɪnʃteɪn]; 3 January 1939 – 26 November 2013) was an Israeli singer, songwriter and actor. He was a pioneer of Israeli rock music and considered as the greatest singer in Israeli history.
Einstein collaborated with many Israeli singers and songwriters, includingShalom Hanochand Yoni Rechter. Einstein wrote many of his own songs, He was a vocalist with The Churchills, Batzal Yarok and HaHalonot HaGvohim.
Arieh Einstein was born in Tel Aviv. His father, Yaakov, was an actor with the "Ohel" Theater. Einstein was Israel's junior high jump and shot put champion.His father urged him to audition for an army entertainment troupe, and he was accepted into the Nahal Brigade troupe.
In 1963, Arieh Einstein married Alona Shochat in the hall of Habima Theater(where he was onstage in a production of Irma La Douce). After four years of marriage, during which their daughter Shiri was born, the couple divorced. A year later, in 1968, they remarried. Their daughter Yasmin was born in 1971.They divorced again in 1972. Alona Einstein died in 2006 from cancer. Arik Einstein's second wife was Sima Eliyahu, whom he met shortly before filming the movie Metzitzim in 1972. They had a daughter and a son: Dina and Amir.
Despite a successful career of acting and singing, Einstein was the shy type and a homebody. In one of his songs he sang that his greatest pleasure was staying home with a cup of lemon tea and his books, and in this he was sincere. In a candid interview that was shown on TV, he said that performing in front of big crowds was difficult for him (without the help of a few glugs of cognac beforehand). For this reason he ceased to perform public concerts from the year of 1981 and on, despite many attractive offers. In 1982 he was hurt in a major car accident. His wife was also hurt, and another friend lost her life. Following the accident Einstein's eyesight, which was alreadymyopic, got worse and he spent less and less time in public.
In 1959, after his release from the IDF, Einstein joined the Green Onion band and the Sambation theatre. In 1960, he released his first solo album. He sang in a band under the pseudonym "Ari Goren". In the Yarkon Bridge Trio, he performed with Yehoram Gaon, Benny Amdursky and later Israel Gurion. In 1964, he played in the comedy film Sallah Shabbati, along withChaim Topol, who was also from the Green Onion band. In 1966, Einstein joined The High Windows with Shmulik Kraus andJosie Katz. Their first album went on sale in April 1967, six weeks before the Six-Day War, signaling a new direction in Israeli rock and pop. Einstein left the group after one year in the wake of a disagreement with Kraus.
Two years later, Einstein released the album Mazal Gdi (Capricorn), which was not very successful. He therefore looked for a new sound and went on to produce the album Puzi with the Churchills, considered the first Israeli rock album. He stopped performing live in the early 1980s. He 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 bashful. 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." 
In 2004, Einstein released Shtei Gitarot Bas Tupim (Two Guitars, Bass, Drums). He sang a duet with David D'Or on D'Or's CD, Kmo HaRuach ("Like the Wind") released on 27 March 2006. In 2010, Einstein was the most played artist on radio stations in Israel, according to Israeli Musical artist organisation, ACUM (אקו"ם). In 2011, he released a new song in honor of the return of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. "You'll always be a hero,” Einstein sings. "You are allowed to cry. It's not simple at all, to forgive fate."
Einstein was part of the early 1970s TV series Lool (Chicken Coop), a sketch-and-song show with an original format and cast. Lool featured songs written by prominent poets performed by some of the best singers Israel has ever produced. In spite of the fact that it had only four episodes, it remains a cult show to this day. Lool, as well as movies such as Shablool (Snail), showcased Einstein as both a top-of-the-line singer and comedian.
In 2005, he was voted the 22nd-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.
In 2009, Haaretz columnist Ariel Hirschfeld wrote: "Arik Einstein's well-known reclusiveness, his ordinariness, his averseness to pomposity and grandiosity, his modest way of belonging to this place – these should not hide from those living here the fact that he is a very great and profound artist, with an acute artistic conscience, perfect and totally unique."
On 26 November 2013, Einstein died age 74 after a ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm. At the news of Einstein's death, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement describing his songs as the "soundtrack of Israel." PresidentShimon Peres stated that he was beloved for his voice that "came from the depths" and his songs would "continue playing life and hope" long after him. He was buried in Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv. Prior to the funeral, his body lay in state inRabin Square, where thousands gathered to pay their respects.
- 1966 – Shar bishvileh (Singing for you)
- 1968 – Yashan vegamHadash" (Old and also New)
- 1968 – Mazal Gdi (Capricorn)
- 1969 – Puzi
- 1970 – Shablul (Snail)
- 1970 – Plastelina (Plasticine)
- 1971 – Shirey Yeladim (Kids' Songs)
- 1971 – Badeshe etzel Avigdor (At Avigdor's on the Grass)
- 1972 – Yasmin (Jasmine)
- 1973 – Hashanim Harishonot (The First Years)
- 1973 – Eretz Yisrael Hayeshana veHatova (Good Old Land of Israel)
- 1974 – Sa leat (Drive slowly)
- 1975 – Shirim (Songs)
- 1976 – Eretz Yisrael Hayeshana veHatova bet (Good Old Land of Israel part 2)
- 1976 – Yeladim (Kids)
- 1976 – Haahava panim rabot la (Love Has Many Faces)
- 1977 – Eretz Yisrael Hayeshana veHatova Gimel (Good Old Land of Israel part 3)
- 1978 – Leket (Medley)
- 1978 – Yeladudes (Kiddos)
- 1980 – Eretz Yisrael Hayeshana veHatova-MeshireySasha Argov (Good Old Land of Israel-Sasha Argov's Songs)
- 1980 – Hamush Bemishkafaim (Armed With Glasses)
- 1981 – Leket Leyladim (Collection for Kids)
- 1982 – Yoshev Al Hagader (Sitting on the Fence)
- 1983 – Shavir (Fragile)
- 1984 – Pesek Zman (Time Out)
- 1984 – Nostalgia-Eretz Yisrael Hayeshana veHatova(Nostalgia-Good Old Land of Israel)
- 1985 – Totzeret Haaretz (Made in Israel)
- 1986 – Ohev Lihiyot Babait (Love Being Home)
- 1987 – Al Gvul Haor (On the Boundary of Light)
- 1988 – Meshirey Avraham Halfi (Avraham Halfi's Songs)
- 1989 – Hashanim Harishonot (The First Years)
- 1989 – Haiti Paam Yeled (I was a Boy Once)
- 1992 – Nostalgia-Eretz Yisrael Hayeshana veHatova(Nostalgia-Good Old Land of Israel)
- 1992 – Haarye, Hayona, veTarnegolet Kchula (The Lion, The Dove, and a Blue Chicken)
- 1995 – Yesh bi Ahava (Got Love in Me)
- 1996 – Ktzat lakahat Hazara (Take Back a Little)
- 1997 – Lean Parchu Haparparim (Where Have the Butterflies Gone)
- 1999 – Muscat
- 2002 – Yashan vegam Hadash-remastered (Old and also New)
- 2002 – Shemesh Retuva (Wet Sun)
- 2004 – Shablool-remastered (Snail)
- 2004 – Shtei Gitarot, Bass, Tupim (Two Guitars, Bass, Drums)
- 2006 – Rega'im (Moments)
- 2007 – Kol Ha Tov Shebaolam (All the Good Things in the World)
With the High Windows:
- 1966 – Hahalonot hagvohim (The High Windows)
- 1981 – Arik Einstein: Songbook (edited by Arik Einstein and Michael Tapuach)
- 1989 – Lool (edited by Arik Einstein and Zvi Shisel)
- 1991 – Arik Einstein: Second Songbook (edited by Arik Einstein and Michael Tapuach; music editor: Bart Berman)
- 2006 – Arik Enstein: Zo Ota Ha-ahava (edited by Ali Mohar)