Zohar Argov

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Zohar Argov
זוהר ארגוב
Zohar Argov (1980s).jpg
Background information
Birth name Zohar Orkabi
Born (1955-07-16)July 16, 1955
Died November 6, 1987(1987-11-06) (aged 32)
Genres Mizrahi, rock
Years active 1977-1987

Zohar Argov (Hebrew: זוהר ארגוב‎, born Zohar Orkabi on July 16, 1955 – died November 6, 1987) was a popular Israeli singer and a distinctive voice in the Mizrahi music scene. Argov is widely known in Israel as "The king of Mizrahi music".[1][2]


Zohar Argov was born in Rishon LeZion. He grew up in a poor family, the eldest of ten children.[3] He committed suicide in 1987 at the age of 32.[4] His son, Gili Argov, is also a singer.[5]

Musical career[edit]

Argov's debut album Eleanor (1981) featured the title track, "Sod HaMazalot" ("The Zodiac Secret"), and "Mah Lakh, Yaldah?" ("What's With You, Girl?"), a tribute to his ex-wife, Bracha, who remained the love of his life.[6]

While Argov's career was dotted with creative and personal lapses caused by his heroin and crack cocaine addictions,[7][8] his musical achievements overshadowed his personal problems. He was able to sing in live performances even under the influence of drugs. Argov was among the first singers to achieve commercial and nationwide success in the sphere of Middle Eastern-Mediterranean/oriental (Mizrahi)-style music, despite the fact that his music was not mainstream at the time and radio stations gave predominance to pop music from overseas.[9]


After his death Argov continued to retain his status as "HaMelekh" (the King) of Mizrahi music.[10] From 1990, three years after his death, the Israel Broadcasting Authority organized a series of annual memorial concerts at Binyanei HaUma convention center in Jerusalem and a fundraising campaign was launched to establish a drug rehabilitation center named for him.[11]

A mainstream label, Hed Artzi, released a double album of his music, "Zohar Argov: The Best." Argov was the subject of a play mounted at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv, and a feature film on his life, "Zohar," enjoyed commercial success.[12]

His songs, among them "Perakh BeGani" ("Flower in My Garden"), "Mah Lakh, Yaldah?" ("What's With You, Girl"), "Ba'avar Hayu Zmanim" ("In The Past") and "Badad" ("Alone"), are now Israeli pop classics and an integral part of national culture. Proposals to name streets after him in Rishon Lezion and Tel Aviv were discussed in 2007 but sparked a controversy due to his conviction on rape charges, for which he spent a year in prison.[13]

See also[edit]