Pop classics top most-played songs of decade

Among recent hits on the list is “Waiting,” a collaboration between pop diva Rita and Idan Raichel, known for incorporating music from many ethnic backgrounds into his work, in fifth place.

Arik Einstein – most played. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Arik Einstein – most played.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It’s the end of the year and of the decade, which means it’s time for a parade of best-of music lists.
ACUM, the nonprofit that represents the copyrights of more than 10,000 authors, composers and music publishers in Israel, has released its list of the most popular Israeli and foreign songs in the past year as well as of the top Israeli songs and most-played artists of the past decade. The lists are based on radio airplay.
The best-of-decade lists of both the songs and of the popular performers, lyricists, composers and arrangers reflect a few distinct trends in Israeli music, notably gentle, classic tunes of the kind that are played on the radio on Friday afternoons just before Shabbat, and music influenced by the Mizrahi roots of many performers. Many of the tunes on this list were released decades ago but are still popular.
The top song on the decade list is “Song of a Mundane Day,” a lilting melody performed by Ilanit, once the queen of the Israeli music scene, and Maor Cohen from the 1970s.
The second and third spots on the list – as well as the 10th – are by the late Zohar Argov, a pioneer in bringing Mizrahi music to the mainstream, who was almost as well known for his troubled life as for his musical career.
Two cousins have songs in the top 10, and it won’t surprise anyone to know that their last name is Banai. Ehud Banai and the late Meir Banai are in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, with Ehud’s classic love song “Today,” and Meir’s bittersweet tale of a fleeting relationship, “Brief Love.”
Among recent hits on the list are “Waiting,” a collaboration between pop diva Rita and Idan Raichel, known for incorporating music from many ethnic backgrounds into his work, in fifth place, and “Dreams,” by Eyal Golan and Ruchama Raz, in fourth place.
Kobi Aflalo and Eli Butner made the list at No. 6 with “Letter to My Brother,” while the late Yigal Bashan’s “Sivan” is at No. 9.
If you bet that Arik Einstein, who died six years ago, would top the list of the most-played performers over the past 10 years, you would definitely have won. The beloved singer, who is still very much missed, was with us on the radio more than anyone else. During his four-decade long career, he released dozens of memorable hits – heartfelt love songs, classic patriotic tunes reinvigorated by his new interpretations, paeans to freedom, children’s songs and so much more – so many that no one title of his made the top 20.
In second place is Shlomo Artzi, who recently celebrated 50 years of performing, a performer whose songs feature a strong beat and occasionally a tough-guy persona.
The artists in third, fourth and fifth spots – Golan, Sarit Hadad and Shlomi Shabat – are all known for music that blends their mizrahi roots with mainstream Israeli pop. Hadad also came in first place on a list of female performers. Hadad and Shabat have also influenced a new generation as judges on the television talent show The Voice.
Yehudit Ravitz, Rita, Gali Atari and Chava Alberstein follow Hadad in the top female performer category.
The late Ehud Manor is ranked as the greatest lyricist, while Einstein’s sometime collaborator and friend Shalom Hanoch was voted the best composer.
“Masa” (Journey), by Eliad, was the most played Israeli song of 2019, while “Soldi” by Mahmood is the best foreign song.
There is still time to vote for the best international songs of the decade on the website for the music radio station 88 FM, which is part of KAN (the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation), by clicking on the link here.
Eighty-eight songs out of 500 from the past decade will be selected by listeners and will be played on December 31, starting at 9 a.m. Those who participate can enter to win a pair of tickets to the BST Festival, featuring Pearl Jam and the Pixies, as well as other prizes, including headphones and albums. This best-of-the-decade compilation will also feature covers of well-known songs by Israeli artists.