Svika Pick Dead: The Israeli “King of Pop” and Eurovision winner turned 72

Svika Pick, the Israeli pop king who wrote Dana International’s 1998 Eurovision-winning hit “Diva,” died on Sunday. He was 72 years old. According to Israeli media, he died at home, although no cause of death was given.

The musician (pictured above left with Dana International), whose career spanned six decades, was also Quentin Tarantino’s father-in-law following Tarantino’s marriage to Pick’s daughter Daniella in 2018.

That was the same year that Pick suffered a stroke on a flight from London to Israel and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Vienna.

Despite the stroke, Pick continued to work well into his eighties and had even planned to tour Israel this summer before his gig was suddenly canceled a week and a half before it was due to begin, local newspaper Haaretz reported.

His death sparked a spate of tributes in Israel, including from the country’s president and prime minister, with a spate of reports that radio stations canceled their regular programming to play Pick’s greatest hits on Sunday when news of his death broke .

Pick was born in Poland in 1949, where his uncle was a music professor. Pick studied classical music from the age of five and emigrated to Israel at the age of ten, where he entered a music conservatory in Ramat Gan.

His interest soon shifted to rock music and as a teenager he formed his first band, The Chocolate, with two friends. Thanks to their alternative styles, the trio were cast in an Israeli version of the 1970 musical Hair, where Pick reportedly performed completely nude, a move that shocked Israeli society and put him in the public eye.

From then on, Pick became a mainstay on the Israeli music scene, where he earned the nickname “Mestro”. Along with then-wife Mirit Shem-Or, with whom he had three children, including Daniella, Pick wrote one of his most famous tunes, “Mary Lou,” and a collaboration with lyricist Ehud Manor yielded another of his most memorable tracks, “Two Apple’s”. ”

After his divorce from Shem-Or, Pick married Israeli fashion designer Shira Manor, with whom he has two sons.

In 1998, Pick rose to worldwide prominence with his catchy hit “Diva,” which he wrote with lyricist Yoav Ginaim. Dana International performed the track in the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest and won the competition (the trio are pictured above holding up the Eurovision trophy).

In 2011 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Israeli Authors, Composers and Music Producers Association.

In later life, Pick was also a regular on Israeli television, appeared as a judge in the American Idol-style singing competition “Kokhav Nolad” (“A Star is Born”), and starred in “The Maestro,” a documentary series about his life.

As is customary in Israel, Pick was buried within 24 hours, and his burial took place in a private service at Ramat HaSharon Cemetery on Monday morning local time. According to local newspaper YNet, some of Israel’s best musicians were in attendance, including Aviv Geffen, Oshik Levi and Nisim Garame, as well as Pick’s family.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid also paid tribute to the musician, writing on Facebook: “Svika Pick sings ‘Music to the heart is penetrating’, a phrase that accurately describes his songs and melodies that are interwoven with the heart and Israeli culture. ”

“He was a revolutionary artist of his generation from the pillars of Israeli pop. Tzvika passed away today, but the songs and melodies he left behind will be played for many years to come. Sending condolences to his family and all his fans. May his memory be a blessing.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also paid tribute on Twitter. “Svika Pick has renewed the Israeli cultural landscape and brought about a revolutionary change in it,” wrote Herzog. “His music, like the lyrics, pierced hearts and became an inseparable part of the soundtrack of our lives. His exceptional talent as a creator has added beautiful pearls to Israeli culture.”

Svika Pick is survived by his wife, five children and grandchildren. Svika Pick Dead: The Israeli “King of Pop” and Eurovision winner turned 72

Charles Jones

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