Photo Credit: Alona Einstein
Arik Einstein was bigger than life.

Arik was magnificent onstage. He sang whatever it was we all wanted him to sing back in 1970, I suppose a quick search online would reveal what those numbers may have been. It didn’t much matter. What we wanted was his presence, the tantalizing closeness of celebrity on a grand scale, the nearness of the most dense charisma in a region that also featured Moshe Dayan and Jordan’s King Hussein.

When he was done, perspiring heavily and barely standing, I used my connections inside the student council entertainment committee to go backstage. And there was a moment there, when Arik Einstein and I were all alone, he sweating bullets, dying to go home for a shower, and I, just turned 15, with a stack of hormonally induced lyrics. I handed him the pages, dumb with awe.

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He gestured for a pen. I realized he thought I wanted an autograph.

I was deeply offended by the most attractive creature in the Near East. How humiliating is this?

Then I managed to whisper, “They’re songs…” and he waved me away with a frown and said, “Not now,” already fleeing into the safety of the parking area and his ride.

That was my 1970 brush with greatness. I hated Arik for a few days. I sulked. Then his wonderfully liberating movie Shablul came out, or maybe his TV show, or maybe it was this or that song which just precisely described my life. I don’t recall the particulars, search the Web. How long could I sulk, anyway? I probably wrote a poem about it. Life seemed so terribly romantic in 1970, three whole years before the war that decimated my generation.

Originally published at RadioHazak.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I feel like a part of me is gone. I started listening to you in my late teens & I felt always part of being Israeli was you, pure and simple. Your music was part of my soul and now, only in heavenly ways! Zal

  2. I knew arik in the early sixties sitting in cafe Casit on Disengoff street in Tel Aviv.
    Heard him play in the Army, loved him like a lost brother. He was very complex man extremely talented and a lover…of life. His music will live for ever as it embodies our formative years in the State of Israel. Yehaiya Zichro Le'Bracha !

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