Esther & Abi Ofarim

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Esther & Abi Ofarim
Esther & Abi Ofarim arriving in the Netherlands on October 10, 1963.
Esther & Abi Ofarim arriving in the Netherlands on October 10, 1963.
Background information
Also known asEsther Ofarim & Abraham
OriginIsrael
Genres
Years active1960–69
Labels
Past members

Esther & Abi Ofarim were an Israeli musical duo active during the 1960s, consisting of the husband-and-wife team Abi Ofarim and Esther Ofarim. They enjoyed particular success in Germany.[1] They had hits in Europe with their songs "One More Dance," "Morning of My Life," and "Cinderella Rockefella."

Career[edit]

Esther Zaied (b. June 13, 1941) met guitarist and dancer Abraham "Abi" Reichstadt (October 5, 1937 – May 4, 2018) in their native country Israel in 1958. Esther, who had been singing since she was a child, was a student in Abi's dance studio in Haifa. They married on December 11, 1958.[2] After Esther served four months in the Israeli Army, they began singing at home for fun before pursuing a professional music career together.[3] Esther joined the group Ofarim, which was founded by Abi and Shmulik Kraus in 1958. The group changed its name to the Ofarim Trio and performed around Haifa, but Shmulik soon left the group.

Esther & Abi Ofarim performing at the Grand Gala du Disque on October 2, 1965.

Esther and Abi continued performing as a duo in nightclubs. They appeared as performers in the first German-Israeli feature film Burning Sands (1960). The duo rearranged old Jewish songs and released their debut album, Haofarim (Sings Israelic Ballads), on Israphon Records in 1961. In 1961, Esther won the first place in Israel's Song Festival.[4][5] Esther and Abi released the album, Foibles and Fables, in 1962. Both albums were successful and were frequently played by the Kol Yisrael radio. Kol Israel sent Esther to the Sopot International Song Festival in Poland where she placed second.[6]

In 1963, Esther and Abi settled in Geneva, Switzerland, and recorded songs in French, Italian, Hebrew and English for the local radio station Radio Suisse Romande. Esther represented Switzerland in the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest. After she placed second in the competition, the duo began recording for Philips Records in Germany.[7] While appearing in the United States, they recorded an album of folk songs released as Esther Ofarim & Abraham.[8] In Germany, the album was titled Songs der Welt (Songs of the World), peaking at No. 2 on the German Albums chart. They had a hit in the Netherlands with "One More Dance (Your Husband Is Worse)," which was released in December 1963 and reached No. 8 on the Dutch charts in 1964.[9][10]

In 1966, Esther & Abi Ofarim had their first hit with "Noch einen Tanz." It peaked at No. 32 in Germany and No. 6 in Austria.[11] In December 1966, they donated $2,500 to the Delphin Foundation for Crippled Children in Germany. The gift was in appreciation of the response by the German public to their albums Neue Songs Der Welt (New Songs of the World) and Das Neue Esther & Abi Ofarim Album (The New Esther & Abi Ofarim).[12] They became the top-selling pop act in West Germany since the war.[13] Their album The New Esther & Abi Ofarim, which was produced by Abi, topped the German pop charts for many weeks. Their albums sold more than one million copies in Germany alone by 1967.[1]

At the height of their success in Germany, the duo were banned on Israeli Radio for a few years due to Germany–Israel relations.[14] Despite the ban, which was implemented in 1963,[15] The New Esther & Abi Ofarim was released as Sing Hallelujah! in Israel on Litratone Records in 1966.

Esther & Abi Ofarim at the Grand Gala du Disque on March 6, 1968.

The duo achieved their biggest hit in Germany with "Morning of My Life", which was written by the Bee Gees, peaking at No. 2 in 1967.[16] They performed the song on the television special Gala-Abend der Schallplatte 1967 (Gala Disk Evenings 1967), the first color telecast in Europe, transmitted by Eurovision from Berlin.[17]

In 1967, Esther & Abi Ofarim embarked on a successful international tour which included performances in the US and at The Savoy in London.[1] Later that year, they released the album 2 In 3, which topped the German Albums chart and reached No. 6 on the UK Albums chart.[18] The duo also received their third gold disk for one million international album sales.[19]

While appearing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967, the duo were presented with the song "Cinderella Rockefella", a novelty love duet written by Mason Williams and Nancy Ames. Esther & Abi Ofarim's performance of the song on the UK television show The Eamonn Andrews Show catapulted the song to success on the charts. It topped the UK Singles chart for three weeks in early 1968 and sold half a million copies.[20][21] The single peaked at No. 68 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top 10 in several European countries. The duo had a successful top 20 follow-up single in the UK with "One More Dance," an English version of their 1966 German single "Noch einen Tanz."[18]

In 1968, Esther & Abi Ofarim performed at Midem in Cannes, the Majorca Pop Jazz Festival in Spain, and the Grand Gala du Disque in Holland.[22][23][24] They also performed for Queen Elizabeth at a Royal Variety Performance in London.[25]

Recordings made during their European tour in 1969 was released as the live album Ofarim Concert Live 1969, charting at No. 29 in the UK.[18] Artistic differences strained the couple relationship. They performed their last concert together in Cologne in March 1969 before separating. Their divorce was finalized in 1970.[26]

Selected discography[edit]

Charted albums[edit]

Release
date
Album UK
[18]
GER
[27]
Notes
1963 Songs Der Welt 2 Released as Esther Ofarim & Abraham in the US
1965 Melodie Einer Nacht 9
Neue Songs Der Welt 1 Released as That's Our Song in the UK
1966 Noch Einen Tanz 3
Das Neue Esther & Abi Ofarim Album 1 Released as Sing Hallelujah! in Israel

Released as Sing! in the US

Released as The New Esther & Abi Ofarim Album in the UK

1967 2 In 3 6 1
1968 Up To Date 11
1969 Ofarim Concert Live 1969 29 14
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that country.

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1965: Ester En Abraham Ofarim/Lieder Und Songs (Philips)
  • 1967: Esther + Abi Ofarim (Philips)
  • 1967: 2. Folge (Philips)
  • 1968: Songs & Hits (Philips)
  • 1972: Esther & Abi Ofarim (Philips)
  • 1972: Die Ofarim-Story (Philips)
  • 1997: Songs Of Our Life (Mercury)
  • 2002: Meisterstücke (Mercury)

Charted singles[edit]

Release
date
Single US
[28]
UK
[18]
AT
[29]
BEL
[29]
CAN
[30]
GER
[16][31]
ISR
[32]
NL
[29]
NO
[29]
SWI
[29]
Album
1961 "Cha'yai Adam" (A Man's Life) 4 Cha'yai Adam (A Man's Life)
1963 "One More Dance (Your Husband Is Worse)" 8 Non-album tracks
"Encore Une Danse" (One More Dance) 30
1964 "Noch einen Tanz" (One More Dance) 6 32 Noch Einen Tanz
"Wenn ich bei dir sein kann" (Cotton Fields) 10 Melodie Einer Nacht
1966 "Sing Hallelujah" 30 Das Neue Esther & Abi Ofarim Album
1967 "Morning of My Life" 9 2 2 In 3
1968 "Cinderella Rockefella" 68 1 3 2 6 5 1 8 10
"One More Dance" 13 Up To Date
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that country.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Philips Hot on Ofarim Album" (PDF). Billboard: 54. April 29, 1967.
  2. ^ "Esther & Abi Ofarim - Artikel aus dem Stern 1966". www.esther-ofarim.de. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1984). Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s: an illustrated directory. Batsford. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-7134-3843-7.
  4. ^ "Esther Ofarim - 1961 Israeli Song Festival". www.esther-ofarim.de. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  5. ^ "Israel Pop Song Festival" (PDF). Billboard: 42. September 8, 1962.
  6. ^ "Polish Song Fest Names Winners" (PDF). Billboard: 26. August 11, 1962.
  7. ^ Wedge, Don (April 6, 1963). "Denmark Wins Eurovision Final, Edging Switzerland" (PDF). Billboard: 3.
  8. ^ "Album Reviews" (PDF). Billboard: 32. September 14, 1963.
  9. ^ "Hits of the World: Holland" (PDF). Billboard: 26. March 28, 1964.
  10. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Esther Ofarim en Abraham - One More Dance (Your Husband Is Worse)". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  11. ^ "Esther & Abi Ofarim - Noch einen Tanz". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  12. ^ "Ofarims Donate to Crippled Children" (PDF). Billboard: 33. December 31, 1966.
  13. ^ "Middle East Triggers Surge For Israeli Music in Germany" (PDF). Billboard: 68. December 2, 1967.
  14. ^ "Lift Artists Ban: Bonn to Israel" (PDF). Billboard: 36. October 29, 1966.
  15. ^ "From Music Capitals of the World: Jerusalem;" (PDF). Billboard: 50. June 8, 1968.
  16. ^ a b "Esther & Abi Ofarim - Morning Of My Life". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  17. ^ Anderson, Omer (June 10, 1967). "Public Relations Group Set For German Record Industry" (PDF). Billboard: 54.
  18. ^ a b c d e "ESTHER & ABI OFARIM | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  19. ^ "International News Reports" (PDF). Billboard: 66. October 7, 1967.
  20. ^ Gould, Leslie (May 25, 1968). "Philips Has Diversified Bag" (PDF). Billboard: 56.
  21. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records. p. 404. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  22. ^ "From Music Capitals Around The World: Amsterdam" (PDF). Billboard: 53. April 13, 1968.
  23. ^ "Majorca Pop, Jazz Festival July 22 to 27" (PDF). Billboard: 50. June 1, 1968.
  24. ^ "The MIDEM Trophies" (PDF). Billboard: 42. January 20, 1968.
  25. ^ "Abi Ofarim obituary". The Times. May 18, 2018. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  26. ^ "BILD 9.5.1969 - Esther and Abi Ofarim split - Esther trennt sich von Abi:sie singt nur noch allein". www.esther-ofarim.de (in German). Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  27. ^ "ESTHER OFARIM + ABI". Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  28. ^ "Cinderella Rockefella (song by Esther & Abi Ofarim) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". www.musicvf.com. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  29. ^ a b c d e "Esther & Abi Ofarim - Cinderella Rockefella". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  30. ^ "Best Sellers February 1965". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2020-06-05 – via Canada Library and Archives.
  31. ^ "Hits of the World: West Berlin" (PDF). Billboard: 28. November 7, 1964.
  32. ^ "Hits of the World: Israel" (PDF). Billboard: 19. December 4, 1961.

External links[edit]