Svika Pick, Legendary Pop Artist, Dead at 72

by Alex Falls

Israeli music icon Svika Pick passed away earlier this week at the age of 72. He died peacefully on Sunday in his home. The cause of death has not been announced.

Pick rose to fame in the 1970s after starring in the Israeli production of Hair. But his career culminated in 1998 when he wrote the song that won Isreal the Eurovision Song Contest, entitled “Diva”. He was also the father-in-law of acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. The writer-director married Pick’s daughter Daniella in 2018.

Pick was working on reviving his career after a terrible stroke four years ago, after which he had to completely relearn how to speak Hebrew. He was optimistic and even hoped to collaborate with Israeli pop icon Noa Kirel on her upcoming Eurovision song.

The musician was born in Poland and immigrated to Isreal when he was 8 years old. He was born into a very musical family. He first began live performing as a teen and quickly became known for his long wild hair and unorthodox sense of fashion.

Some of his most well-known songs include “Muziqa (Mala Mala)” (“Music (Higher and Higher)”), “Ein Medina Le’Ahava” (“No Country for Love”), “Neesaf Tishrei” and “Mary Lou,” which was written in collaboration with and about his first wife, Mirit Shem-Or. He also wrote smash hits for some of Israel’s most beloved musicians including Gali Atari and Sarit Haddad.

Silva Pick Remembered

Perhaps the biggest highlight of his career was writing “Diva”, the song that won the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest. It was performed by the Israeli singer Dana International, who also made history as the first trans woman to win the competition.

In the late 90s, Israeli performers and audiences alike leaned heavily into conservative ideals. But Pick stuck out with his flamboyant and androgynous style and helped turn the culture in new directions.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Pick had “breathed new life into Israel’s cultural landscape and brought about a revolutionary change to it. His music penetrated our hearts and became an integral part of the soundtrack of our lives.”

American audiences on the other hand would recognize Pick’s son-in-law before the musician. Tarantino is one of the most acclaimed American filmmakers of all time. But in Pick’s home country of Israel, the singer’s work is far more ubiquitous than Tarantino’s movies.

In 2017, when the couple ignited their romance and became engaged, Pick spoke about Tarantino in an interview with Pnai Plus: “He’s a magical person and I really fell in love with him. A great guy… Intelligent and funny. They’re a really beautiful, really lovely couple.”

Pick leaves behind five children. A boy and two daughters from his first wife, frequent musical collaborator Mirit Shem-Or, and two young sons, who are just 8 and 5, with his second wife, designer Sharon Manor. He also had eight grandchildren.