Radiohead is known for being one of the most innovative bands on the planet. Dudu Tessa is not. However, Tessa is a well known genre-jumping Israeli singer-songwriter. Tess grew up in the Hatikvah neighborhood of Tel Aviv and put his out first album when he was just thirteen years old and has released four more albums. So what does Tessa have to do with Radiohead you ask? His first single, “Ezei Yom” (What a Day), features Jonny Greenwood, mostly known for his work as Radiohead’s guitarist and keyboard player. According to Ynet (Hebrew link), Greenwood visits Israel quite often, which makes sense since his wife is Israeli and he met Tessa through family friends.
You can listen to the resulting song in the YouTube video I embedded below.
Radiohead’s relationship with Israel actually has quite an interesting back story. In 1993, several months after the band released their first single with minimal success, the song “Creep” made quite a splash on the charts in Israel due to well respected DJ Yoav Kutner’s incessant playing of the single (which was introduced to him by a local representative of EMI). And the rest is history. Radiohead was rushed to Israel to keep the buzz going and actually ended up playing their first gig outside of the UK in Tel Aviv. Weeks later they garnished some buzz on a few midmarket California stations and then career making radio station KROQ played it and they’ve snowballed into one of the world’s most popular, innovative and influential bands.
Good story, eh?
Well, it’s official, sort of.
Paul McCartney is on the way play in Israel – which is being touted as the biggest concert in the country’s history.
Despite the PR firm of promotor Dudu Zerzevsky calling reporters Saturday night to notify them that McCartney would be appearing at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park (seating upwards of 50,000), and all the papers and TV news shows running items on Sunday, there’s been no official confirmation, and McCartney’s publicist, Stuart Bell was quoted by AP as saying, “Nothing’s been confirmed.”
Still, I’ve been assured it’s a done deal, and baby boomers are already speculating at how much they’ll have to dole out for tickets to the show of a Beatle fan’s lifetime.
A Channel 10 news report said that prices would be in the NIS 500 range – that’s about $145. But it’s a given that no matter the price, the show will sell out.
Costs for the show being bandied about reach an estimated $4 million, including a 100-person production team, an extra-large stage and expansive sound system, and additional touches such as two vegetarian kitchens at the show’s location for the vigorously anti-carnivore musician.
Earlier this year, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor sent a letter to McCartney and the other surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr, inviting them to perform in Israel for its 60th birthday.
“We should like to take this opportunity to correct the historic omission which to our great regret occurred in 1965 when you were invited to Israel,” Prosor wrote, referring to a missed chance Israeli promoters had to book the Fab Four in 1965. Legend has it that members of the government denied the proper permits to perform in Israel on the grounds that their music might corrupt the country’s morals. But Beatles historian and aficionado Yoav Kutner disputes that theory.
“It never happened that way,” Kutner told Ha’aretz. “The concert was canceled because of a dispute between music promoters Giora Godik and Yaakov Uri. In 1962, Godik received an offer from the mother of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein that they come to Israel. But [Godik] preferred to bring singer Cliff Richard, who was much more famous at the time. When Uri bought the rights to hold the concert two years later, Godik was angry that he blew the opportunity and went to the Knesset’s Finance Committee to persuade them to bar the promoters from taking out foreign currency.” At the time, expenditures of large amounts of foreign currency in Israel, which would have been used to pay the band, required government approval.
Hopefully, in the next day or two, the concert will become official, all the 40-60-year old fans who have spent their lives hoping to see The Beatles, will cash their savings accounts, and the country will experience a month of Beatlemania that had previously been denied.
Now, if only the Pixies would come here.