Composer, lyricist, and singer Shalom Hanoch is the creator of a musical oeuvre that, since the 1960s, has profoundly influenced the Israeli soundtrack, and has become a touchstone for Israeli cultural identity.
Often called the father of Israeli rock, Shalom Hanoch was born in 1946 in Kibbutz Mishmarot in northern Israel. As a child, his musical talent was evident, as was his love for various genres from classical, to folk, to the blues. He wrote his first original song, Laila (Night) – a thoughtful, harmonically complex piece which remains popular to this day – when he was just 14, and went on to write more songs with fellow kibbutz member and musician, Meir Ariel. At the age of 18, Shalom Hanoch was recruited into Lehakat HaNachal, the Israel Defense Forces' legendary military entertainment troupe, for which he wrote a number of songs.
In the late 1960s, he began working with Arik Einstein, at the time Israel's most popular performer. This partnership gave birth to seminal recordings, including Shablul, which consisted of songs composed and written by Hanoch, and introduced Israelis to an exciting new sound influenced by Anglo-American rock 'n' roll. Additional successful albums followed, as well as a stint in London, where Mr. Hanoch was signed with a music producer and recorded an album of original songs in English alongside Elton John's backing band. In 1973, he returned to Israel, and soon co-founded the band Tamouz, a highly influential group that is widely considered Israel's first genuine rock band.
Over the five decades since, Shalom Hanoch has been extremely prolific, creating dozens of songs, including an impressive string of hits, and collaborating with a diverse range of musicians. Through poetry and song, his compositions create an uncompromising self-portrait as well as biting social commentary, while illuminating themes of love, longing, anger, and hope. He is responsible for several of the most profound and beautiful songs ever to be created here, including Ma Sheyoter Amok Yoter Kachol ("The Deeper the Bluer"), Maya, Adam Betoch Atzmo ("A Man Within Himself"), Chatuna Levana ("White Wedding"), Mehakim LeMashiach ("Waiting for the Messiah") and many others. Performed at intimate venues as well as in the large-scale rock concerts he pioneered in Israel, his songs continue to resonate in the ears and hearts of listeners around the world.