"Immortal Superstar or Vanishing Vanity Voice?": The long-standing war between Zvika Pick and the media
They wrote that he was a strange composer, criticized his singing style, accused him of conservatism and killed his songs.
In response, he called them disconnected.
Countless words have been written about Zvika Pick over the years, and they reveal the path his character has taken since he broke out as a controversial sensation - until he became a national icon.
Friday, August 19, 2022, 03:34
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This week, with the passing of the musician Zvika Peak at the age of 72, emotional obituaries were published about him - also by the Ham. that the beautiful gestures in the press were not always his lot during his career, and over the years the two sides had a charged relationship, to say the least.
For example, in an interview with Samdar Shir in "Maariv" in October 1978, not long after he won the title for the second time in a row (out of three) The singer of the year, and after his song "Nesaf Tishrei" was chosen as the song of the year on Channel C, Pick protested the attitude of the media towards him and made a series of claims.
"In the media, I was almost banned. Someone wrote about me as dancing on stage like a pervert and trying to build a career for me through the beds of women. They claimed that I smoke drugs, spoil the youth and in general, that I am an immoral person. They opposed the music I write. Even Gwen My voice was not tolerated. They did not allow me to appear on television. On the radio they only played my records as part of the chorus parades. I sent songs to the singing festivals - and they were not accepted. They claimed that I write Western music and that I am the complete opposite of the songs of the good old Land of Israel... I believe "What the mind doesn't do, time does. They must have learned to get used to me," Peak said at the time.
A charged relationship with the media.
Zvika Pick (Photo: Maariv, Yonatan Shaul)
Some of these claims were an exaggeration: even if they did not praise him from every stage, and alongside some venomous criticisms - music critics over the years actually appreciated certain elements of Pick's work, even though they commented on his style.
The only channel of the time, admittedly, probably not much to give him a platform in relation to other artists, but when it comes to the newspapers the archive speaks for itself: throughout the decades, Pick was interviewed countless times in the major newspapers - not including entertainment weeklies - extensively reviewed, to use an understatement, and won many crowns and titles.
It was a double game by both sides.
Similar to its traditional attitude towards pop stars from then until today, the media fell in love with the charismatic and colorful young man, with his outgoing moves, his propensity for provocations and especially with all the unfathomable admiration around him - and at the same time disgusted with what he perceived as empty gimmicks, Choppy, and music that does not pretend to be serious. Peak, for his part, no He refused to participate in the cult of personality cultivated by the media and made sure to provide it with a steady dose of scandals, intense scenes and outstanding quotes again and again and again, while at the same time always feeling that he was not appreciated enough by the tastemakers
. to sketch a snapshot of the relationship between Peak and the media. A significant part of them dealt with affairs that have a loose connection to music, and the time to review them was short. Some slandered him, some spoke in his praise. Through them, Peak's journey was revealed, as well as a little of the history of criticism. One thing is certain: the last few days have taught us You're right about what time does.
Pick came on the media radar when he joined with his friends from the Chocolat band, Gabi Shoshan and Shuki Levy, in the successful Israeli production of "Hair" in 1970, in which he played the character of Claude.
He was barely 20 years old. Those were the days of "Song for Peace" and the euphoria after the victory over the Six Day War, and the show was a huge success.
The journalist Moshe Ben Shaul, who would later also write songs for Pick, talked with him in rehearsals in what would turn out to be one of the first interviews, if not the first, with the future star.
"The theme of this musical is suitable for anywhere in the world. Yes, the issue of conscription, the fear of injury and disability. It is a topical issue everywhere, even in Israel - isn't it?" said Pick.
A month later Ata took a fairer position in an interview with Yehuda Stav on the matter.
"Am I a hippie? Of course not. I think a hippie is someone who puts a damper on society. I'm not like that. I consider conventions, act according to them, I have no desire to dismantle them. True, I do it on stage, but I don't have to identify with What's happening to her. I don't usually make public revelations in my private life. She's not the 'queen of the bathroom'. If I don't believe things, I shouldn't say them either."
The writer Yoram Kaniuk then wrote a review of the 100th performance of "Shi'ar", and actually liked Pick.
"The first time I saw her, I didn't like Gabi Shoshan (Berger) and on the other hand I really liked Zvika Pick. Pick is still not questionable at all, but Shoshan has become a more beautiful flower," he wrote on September 7, 1970 in the Devar newspaper.
That same year, on November 30, Shraga Har-Gil noticed in Maariv that "of the trio, Tzvika Pik stands out the most. The gossip columns of the weekly press often shout about him."
What will the connoisseurs say?
From Yossi Harsonsky's review of "Music", from Ma'ariv, January 21, 1979 (photo: official website, historical Jewish press website, www.JPRESS.org.il, founded by the National Library and Tel Aviv University)
However, when he turned to a solo career, with the debut album "This is my way", Pick had already tasted the satisfaction of criticism.
The veteran Zeev Rav-Nof, a doppelganger film critic who also sinned in music criticism, did not connect so much with the album.
"It's not enough for him to be a star and a singer, now he's also a composer, and in my opinion a strange composer - either he's original and boring ('I'm going anywhere') or he's fun and unoriginal ('Two Apples'). Apart from that, he's a cold, petrified and un- Overwhelming, and in this style it's a flaw," he wrote in the talk on April 1, 1971. This is probably the first criticism Pick received as a solo musician, and it consisted of less than 50 words.
In the newspaper "Ha'Olam Hez" they mentioned favorably "There is no country for love", they doubted the originality, but increased the recognition that it might grow into a real hit maker.
"Zvika... is a lovable guy, who develops the image of a long-haired Jesus... and writes hymns with catchy and catchy melodies, occasionally recalling other melodies heard before.
Even then, the journalists noticed the unusual displays of admiration that Pick received, and over the years their descriptions overshadowed any other matter.
"Zvika Pick is one of the most popular singers today, his picture is emblazoned on the covers of the weekly hit and movie magazines, his name is included in most of the gossip columns, and dozens of girls of the stupid age of ten flock to his door after the show and ask for his autograph," described Sharaga Har-Gil in Ma'ariv in January 1971. Another article from the same The year, written by Sandra Skarbek in recent news and quoted many times in other publications, describes that "Zvika Pick has an animalistic and sensual magnetism. Something out of this world. A quality that is difficult to define. A gravity that is not evident in his photographs."
At the core of the matter was already then the tension between the intense public relations and the journalists eager to cover the phenomenon, which developed into tension between the surveyors and the surveyed.
Dorit Gefen, in the Al Hamishmer newspaper, firmly claimed that Pick "knows that everything depends on advertising and public relations";
And in this world newspaper, the singer's voice was also heard: "He takes the journalists out of their composure with his long hair, the Crucified Jesus style, his mournful look, as if he were a romantic from the last century, and especially with his 11 years of music and musical studies, which began back in his native Poland. Therefore, When journalists come to interview Zvika Pick, he openly disapproves: "In the end they always get the better of me, they always find something. We don't know why they always take care of the intimate details of my private life, and only describe what I look like instead of what I do."
We will hear this claim later.
"In the future he will stand out more as a composer than a singer"
The critics who dealt with Zvika Pick throughout the 70s, the building years and peak of his career, treated him dually: on the one hand, they appreciated the composition for himself and others - but rejected the performance;
They emphasized that the songs are good - as pop songs from which nothing more can be expected;
They particularly appreciated his attempts to compose songs by poets such as "Nasef Tishrei" - but rejected the original hymns as shallow.
Thus, through a metaphor, Ben Shaul wrote in Ma'ariv in 1973 that among the songs of the parades he especially likes "Bin Ha'Azevot".
"I don't want to talk about the text. It is a reasonable and rather lukewarm text," he wrote and criticized the singing style of Ruthi Navon, whom he defined as "a popular singer, lacking any design in my opinion."
At the same time, he emphasized that "Zvika Pick's composition is very catchy, very 'colorful', and his orchestration is excellent. Zvika Pick is definitely a talent in the field of light composition, I believe that in the future he will stand out more and more as a composer rather - more than a singer. He is of the era and knowledgeable In the rhythms and fleeting (and beautiful?) loves of her boys and girls."
Yaakov Bar-On also appreciated Pick's talent.
"From a technical point of view - the songs are outstanding at a very high performance level," he wrote about "Erich Negan No. 4", the singer's new album.
The duality stood out in two other senior critics.
Yossi Harsonsky in Ma'ariv, who interviewed Pick several times throughout the period, noted in 1976 that Pick is a "talented" composer, but also noted that "it is difficult to recognize the importance of these texts, apart from one or two, and perhaps this is typical of such rock hits, that the words in them do not 'interfere' with the music, and the main thing is the immediate response, the spontaneous vibration to the rhythm and the recognition of the oriental-like motif that dominates most of them."
Two years later, following Pick's show, Khersonsky again wrote a mixed review, extolling Pick's virtues as a composer - but accusing him of commercialism.
"The show is beautifully structured. The songs - without pretensions. An evening with lots and lots of pop music, which prominently emphasizes the appeal to the audience at any cost. In other words: Pick presents what is familiar and catchy in order to squeeze applause from the very first notes of each performance," he wrote at the time .
Despite this, he too was carried away with the loyal audience: "I don't like the pathos in the performance"
I love you Leah, but the melody itself is lovely, and the audience in the hall sang along with Zvika with obvious pleasure.
'Shoshana Plaim' is a beautiful minor song, with an original musical structure... [It is] an evening of entertainment, of simple music, without textual 'news'." He concluded: "And if the term pop has any meaning when it comes to local music, then Zvika Peak is his representative in many respects."
The composer and songwriter.
Zvika Pick and Mirit Shem Or, 1980 (Photo: Reuven Castro)
Khersonsky also wrote reviews on "Kaleidoscope" and later on "Music", Peak's most successful album.
The second review is particularly interesting: "Says something that may be received with a certain suspicion by connoisseurs," wrote the reviewer, "I think that 'Music' is the most 'hot' and the most contagious record that Zvika Peak has made in his career. The melodies... contain elements Evidence of originality, this is an original pop that testifies to the feelings of a composer, to a style. The record is also impressive in its arrangements (the use of a synthesizer) which are next to an almost 'revolutionary' novelty pick... In its kind - that is, as a pop record - 'Music' is one of the best productions ever made in the local studios".
The most senior music journalist in Israel ever, Yoav Kutner, also wrote a review of the same album in the same newspaper, was more reserved, but also did not spare the praise.
"The record 'Music' is a pop record - and as such it is very good. It does not have sophisticated or complex music, but those looking for original Israeli disco will find it here... Pick's musical arrangements sit nicely on his melodies, and he manages to create a personal style that stands out At the usual level of pop records abroad...no one expects to find high-level vocals in pop hits aimed at stupid teenagers, and as such these choruses are indeed good," Kutner wrote, commenting on the singer's singing style. "This Peak album shows Constant development in composition, arrangement and production (the highlight of the record is the piece 'Mary Lou') and it is a shame that there is no such development in the form of his singing, which - in my opinion - is the main drawback of his songs.
I don't like his voice and his intonation, a change in Peak's singing style would have made him our number 1 pop singer."
"People turn up their noses when they hear the name"
Peak provoked contrasting reactions from different listeners, the audience and the establishment.
There was something polarizing about him.
Menachem Golan, who interviewed Pick for Ma'ariv in 1980, formulated the debate as follows: "Immortal superstar or a passing vanity? A gifted creator and composer or a commercialized industrialist of shallow and shrill music? A handsome man radiating personal charm or a clumsy imitation of a sex doll in a colorful shop window?" ".
Golan ruled in favor of Pick: "It will be a bit difficult for his critics and detractors to ignore the simple facts that adorn him with the crown of 'the greatest success of the Israeli music world in recent years'... All these force even the most venomous critics of Zvika Super-Pick to bow down Head and admit, to minimize, that he is not legally entitled to just a full-fledged screamer."
The reporter for "Ha'Olam Hez", Anat Sargosti, also stood up to the debate provoked by Pick in a comprehensive article she wrote about him in 1987.
"Many of the people who walk around the world of show business... turn up their noses when they hear the name Zvika Pick. Many add to the turn of their noses a phrase like 'I can't stand him'. On the other hand, Pick continues to fill halls, people continue to buy his records, To hang posters on the walls of the rooms... he manages to upset people. To infuriate them with his performance, with his provocativeness. In that he appears to them as someone who doesn't account for anything and behaves as he pleases. There is a feeling sometimes that people like to hate Zvika Peak, who do not give him credit either The indisputable musical successes," Sargosti wrote.
"Throughout all the years it's been this way: the unimportant things are treated as a jug," Peak told her at the time.
"It is clear to me that if I had cut my hair short and performed together in a white shirt and sleeves folded over the arm, everything would have been fine. Maybe my performance is outrageous, maybe the scale of the things I do are not so far-fetched, although now others do such things too. When I grew up, every My growth was something they didn't recognize... being successful in Israel is forbidden. You must not be unusual, you must not be different, you must not play it. You must be humble... to demonstrate what Shalom Hanoch demonstrates, a kind of poverty and poverty, and then love him? This is called being IN ?".
"Immortal Superstar or Vanishing Vanity Voice?".
From "Maariv", April 4, 1980 (photo: official website, historical Jewish press website, www.JPRESS.org.il, founded by the National Library and Tel Aviv University)
This is not a single quote.
In interviews with the media, Peek always claimed, throughout the years, that the tastemakers and the gatekeepers do him an injustice, ignore him even when he is successful in the field, treat him in an unimportant way and are busy with gossip instead of his work.
"For me, it's a classic case of night and day between what is depicted in the media and what happens in reality. Either I'm ignored, or I'm mowed down," he claimed in an interview with Kobi Niv in a news newspaper in 1987.
"I think I succeeded too much and dared too much, so that's why I'm being punished. I've never been no. Neither is Mick Jagger. What to do, we're bad kids."
Five years earlier, he told the reporter of "Olam Hez" that "if they would have paid less attention to my appearance and more to the music I create - success would have come sooner".
Peak even accused his critics of simply not understanding the zeitgeist, and specifically rejected claims about his show style.
"All this criticism amuses me," he told Menachem Golan.
"It is similar to the criticism of the owner of a cart and an old horse on someone who has a car, and he does not understand why the car drives faster than his tired horse. This is the same in my case: there are those who do not perceive how time flies, how the music undergoes changes, and how the reactions of the audience change - So they pour water. But in all seriousness, it doesn't bother me at all that they will talk and I will succeed."
Despite these things, in another interview Pick admitted that he was actually very hurt by the criticism.
"I care, because it does not reflect reality," he said.
More in Walla!
Farewell to the automatic dancer: there was no figure in Israeli culture like Zvika Pick
To the full article
Peak's main claims were against the Broadcasting Authority's television and radio, which did not choose the songs he wrote for the singer's festivals and pre-Eurovision, and did not invite him enough for television programs, according to him.
Hanoch Hasson, the producer and editor of the singing festivals and director of the powerful entertainment department of Israeli television, has also received such criticism from other pop artists, such as singers of oriental music.
In 1982, Sarit Yishai, a reporter for Ha'Olam Hez, raised these claims in an interview with Hasson, who rejected them and insisted that he invites artists "whose personalities do not require television stunts" for the Shabbat evening specials, those who can "stand in front of a microphone and sing 12 songs" .
"This show is obviously not suitable for Zvika Peak. He is not one of those who can stand in front of a microphone in the style of Paul Simon or James Taylor. He must have television stunts in his show... With all due respect to Zvika Peak, who is an excellent singer, he cannot hold an audience with a microphone and a piano. He is also not suitable for the programs in which the specials are broadcast, because on Shabbat evenings we broadcast to a maximum percentage of the audience. That is why we need to prepare a special program for him that will be broadcast in the middle of the week," answered Hasson, noting in his defense that by that point the Broadcasting Authority had already produced two large specials for him .
Not all of Peak's relations with the media were bad.
On the sidelines, we can mention the collaboration with Maariv's youth weekly, "Interim Readings", which sponsored (along with Discount Bank) several performances by Pick - who in return wrote an additional stanza for "Love in the Late Summer" in honor of the weekly: "They read intermediate readings / The Youth Weekly / together with four eyes / they were busy / he wore a romantic smile / and read her two lines / what exactly did he see there / it remains a secret."
"It's very easy to get off a peak"
In the 1980s, Peake's success began to wane.
Other artists caught the attention of the media, and Peak himself stopped producing hits then.
At the same time, in the same decade, a new generation of music journalists established themselves, who had already grown up alongside pop and rock and knew how, on the one hand, to closely evaluate what they saw, and on the other hand, did not hesitate to bluntly dismiss and denigrate what they perceived as inauthentic without mincing words - a style that gradually became popular in newspapers such as "News ".
In 1981 Pick published one of the most reviled songs in the history of Hebrew music - "Song to John Lennon", a puzzling tribute to the Beatles singer who was murdered not long before.
The critics were shocked.
This world newspaper wrote at the time that it was a "repulsive attempt to respond and express sorrow for the murder of the great English composer... even without comparison to the beautiful songs written in our memory by musicians such as Paul Simon, George Harrison and Elton John, Peake's song fails in every way : Insensitivity, an international 'shabbak' atmosphere with 'Johnny', which has no place, which is pretentious and offends good taste, and with a bouncy melody regardless of the content of the text. The content itself, by the way, has nothing to do with Mauma."
The mythology of Israeli rock attributes to Yoav Kutner a statement on the air, according to which this single should be accompanied by vomit bags.
Even Yossi Khersonsky in Ma'ariv, who respected Fik more than others, firmly claimed that the song "is nothing more than a rhyming pastime, a gimmick to achieve Schlager".
At this stage of the fashion exchange, Peak is seen as outdated.
Kobi Or, one of the most unique critics who ever wrote about music in Israel, accused Pick of conservatism.
"Someone defined poetry as walking on the edge of the roof of a skyscraper. Such a walk is what Israeli pop lacks," he wrote in 1984 in the newspaper Haudas.
"In Israel - conservatism is celebrated. 'Stay with me tonight', Zvika Pick's new song, seems to have been written 12 years ago. Putting computerized synthesizers on stage does not mean making modern music."
"It is true that he wants to be seen as a rock and roll man... but he is not a rock and roll man, period," Avi Morgenstern also wrote in Maariv in 1988, under the title "Zvika who?".
"Pick works on gimmicks, on external poses... It's strange that someone who claims to be rock and roll appears in the club 'November', for example, and releases a record of songs by Julio Iglesias - one of the great schmaltz singers. And maybe in fact Peak has already become a very sad phenomenon, which continues to look for the gate at all costs The longed-for path is the wink of success, the doorway to forgotten popularity... It's very easy to get down on Peak. It seems he's still trapped in a dream that everyone else woke up from a long time ago, which is a little sad. Sounds a little archival, even pathetic."
perceived as outdated.
Pick Model 1985 (Photo: Reuven Castro)
Throughout the decade, Pick stood out in the newspapers mainly in scandalous contexts, or just those not related to music - legal disputes, flirtations with politicians from various parties, football, and of course: parties, haircuts, gossip.
At the beginning of the next decade, the first famous attempt at a comeback took place - with none other than the refugees of the Hat Bearers band that disbanded.
This very strange combination of arms also gave rise to what is perhaps the cruelest criticism ever written about Pick, and it is signed by Irit Linor in the newspaper "Hadhoot", who was present at one of the performances.
"I remember Zvika Pik mainly as a strange and uncombed Pole, whose untalented wife would write most of the lyrics of his songs for him, and when she ran out of inspiration, he would take poets' songs and sing them too by the nose. Under these circumstances, it is clear that more than a distance of 10 and 20 years to put on Pick's songs, and Pick himself, the label of quality that will allow them eternal life. But today's young people... are bored and their lives lack excitement, and the hole in their souls is probably so big that even someone like Zvika Pick can fill it." , wrote Linor, who claimed that the crowd that gathered there didn't really like the singer, but came for the pose.
"He stood in front of an audience that knows the words to his songs by heart, but it is very doubtful if they have even one of his records at home. I never believed that this would happen to me, but I found myself feeling sorry for a singer whose fame is behind him, who was brought back to the stage thanks to a fashionable whim, and performs with the audience An innovative reversal of roles: it is usually customary that an artist is the one who sells a pose, and an audience buys it (or doesn't). In 'Elizabeth'
On Thursday, it was the crowd that sold the pose, and Zvika Peak swallowed it fully.
I think this is the only time in pop history that the audience fakes an orgasm, and not the one on stage."
The story here is not the blunt words, but what Linor recognized in part: from this stage of his career onwards, with one comeback after another, Peake went from a figure who stirs the public to something much less threatening to good taste and good order - someone whom nostalgia allows to celebrate and appreciate in retrospect (and even ironically ).
Even the critics of the nineties began to see it.
A colleague of theirs, the music critic of "News", was already clear in December 1992 that although "there is no hall of fame for the men of Israeli pop, but if there was, Zvika Peak is the only one who would have the right to hang the shirt there".
Mary Lou smiles
Peak's second comeback marks the beginning of the closing of the circle.
It started with the phenomenal success of "Diva", and later the other hits he wrote for Sharit Haddad ("Let's light a candle") and Maya Buskila ("The Heart").
Along with his renewed appreciation as a composer, Pick recaptured other mediums, which established his status as an icon.
There was "Mary Lou" in the theater, of course, but just as important is the return to the television screens, from someone who was so resentful of her treatment at the beginning of his career.
This time, from the front door.
Peek is a judge in the show "A Star is Born 6" (2008) (Photo: Shay Oknin)
Thus, Pick was a guest in the telenovela "City Tower";
was a judge in "Kohav Nold", the most successful reality show of that decade;
won a trashy doco-reality on the Bip channel dedicated to him under the name that became synonymous - "The Maestro";
and even participated in the role himself in a series written based on his poems, "Always the same dream";
And let's not forget the iconic advertisement for the Nokia phone, which has become the "Zvika Pick phone" by everyone.
Much of these performances are steeped in self-humor and irony, and they have drawn many imitations, as well as much criticism.
Again, like in the 70s, he was everywhere.
The important thing is that the one who was always angry at being excluded from the screen, entered him in the last chapter of his career through the front door, as a beloved and valued figure, whom prime time - which at this stage already worshiped pop completely - embraced, adored and cherished, and also enjoyed laughing at.
The later pick was less bothered by being indecisive about him, if only showering love on the way.
At the beginning of the week, when the news of his death was published on the covers of all the newspapers, opened the newscasts and stopped the radio broadcasts in the middle - somewhere in the world of songs, Mary Lou stole a smile for herself.