An article called 12 Legendary English Songs That Are Even More Beautiful in Other Languages mentioned a cover for Leonard Cohen’s hallelujah by Israeli singer Mei Finegold. This reminded me there are many more Hebrew covers for global hits, as well as a few foreign covers for Hebrew songs. So sit back, crank up the volume and enjoy the music.
Since hallelujah has countless covers, I found another Hebrew one, translated by Kobi Meidan and performed by Eran Zur, Abigail Rose, Ivri Lider and Shlomi Shaban:
Singer-songwriter Chava Alberstein covered Hey, Jude by the Beatles, called Hey, Ruth in Hebrew (written by Yoram Taharlev):
I suppose Beatles covers were really popular around the 60s, as singer Arik Einstein covered Do You Want to Know a Secret. The Hebrew version is actually funny and has nothing to do with the original lyrics – a young man is waiting for his date, who is getting ready for their meeting. The chocolate he has brought her is melting, but she still hasn’t even popped her head out of the window. (Also written by Yoram Taharlev.)
Singer-songwriter Meir Ariel translated and covered Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Doors:
In the 90s Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue had a hit duet called Where the Wild Roses Grow. Singers Si Heyman and Dani Litani covered it:
English songs were not the only ones covered. Gilbert Becaud‘s tale of exotic Nathalie became Naphtali in Gadi Yagil song – a story of a man who was always early, and eventually came home too early, only to find his wife with another man (starts at 0:33).
More recently, singer Kobi Peretz covered Khaled‘s catchy C’est la vie:
Toto Cotugno‘s L’italiano was covered by Doron Mazar in his hit Ani Khozer Habaita (אני חוזר הביתה, I’m coming home):
Some Hebrew songs also got their own foreign cover. In 1974 Israeli band Kaveret (a personal favorite) participated in the Eurovision contest with the song Natani La Khayay (נתתי לה חיי, “I gave her my life”). French singer Joe Dassin has his own version for the song, which is completely different from the original and talks about military life.
Israeli duo Hedva and David had a big hit in 1970 called Ani Holem al Naomi (אני חולם על נעמי, I dream of Naomi). Surprisingly, it became huge in Japan as well and got its own Japanese version, Naomi no yume (ナオミの夢, the dream of Naomi):
This song also has a Korean version, by Jung Hunhee, 1972:
Our next post will include all of my favorite covers that have nothing to do with Hebrew. Stay tuned!