Israeli music icon Zvika Pik passes away, age 72

Zvika Pik was a revolutionary musician and the first real Israeli rock artist.

Zvika Pick (photo credit:  Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Zvika Pick
(photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Israeli singer and musician Zvika Pik has passed away at the age of 72, Hebrew media reported on Sunday afternoon.

Pik was known to many as the "king of Israeli pop" after he rose to fame during the 1970s, when he was voted Israeli male singer of the year.

Named Henrik at birth, Pik was born in 1949 in Poland. In the first eight years of his life, Pik learned music with an emphasis on classics and the piano.

At the age of eight, the Piks made aliyah and Pik's name was changed from Henrik to Zvika. When the family arrived in Israel, he continued his musical studies at the Ramat Gan conservatory.

As a teenager, Pik was a member of a band named The Echos, but he didn't sing because his friends told him he sounded funny when he sang. As part of the band, he only played the piano and guitar.

 Zvika Pick. (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Zvika Pick. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A few years later, Pik was offered to star in the Israeli production of Hair. Even though he didn't like the role, he took it and became a teen favorite overnight.

Pik's musical career

Following the success of the musical, the CBS record company made him an offer, and he released his first album This is My Way. He was not happy with the result, however, so he left CBS and became an independent artist by 1972. He continued to produce four independent albums over the next six years.

In 1978, Pik released his record-breaking album Music which revolutionized Israeli music.

Pik was considered the first Israeli rock artist, and his music was initially not accepted by critics at the time.

In the last 40 years, his music evolved and changed in a number of directions, but he was always the king of pop in Israel.

Four years ago, Pik suffered a stroke on a flight from London to Tel Aviv. Since the stroke, there was much speculation regarding his health, especially when he canceled two concerts in two months in May and June of this year.

Following the announcement of his passing, many people were quick to honor him and what he did for Israel. Many Israeli politicians mourned his passing, among them President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

"Zvika Pik renewed the Israeli cultural view and revolutionized it," said Herzog. "His music made its way into everyone's hearts as words in songs and became an inseparable part of the soundtrack of our lives. His outstanding talent as a creator bore Israel beautiful cultural fruit.

"He was so Israeli and deeply connected our rich past roots, and at the same time, he reflected the beauty of Israel to the whole world. His voice and his words will continue to play in our loving ears for years to come. My condolences to his family and his many fans."

"Zvika Pik sang "music makes its way into the hear" - a line that perfectly describes his songs and tunes that made their way into Israeli culture," said Lapid.