Last night, Tel Aviv willingly gave itself over to the consummate entertainer Robbie Williams. While Americans may be unfamiliar with Williams, he’s well known to the Europeans, the British, would-be Brits and connoisseurs of Europop as the man who gave us tuneful hits like Let Me Entertain You, Rock DJ, Kids (with Kylie Minogue), Millennium, and many more. Not to mention his status as an alumnus of Take That, the most successful boy band in UK history.
Nonetheless, in a fit of local pride, Israel’s educational TV station, Channel 23, posted this image on its Facebook page along with the comment: “With all due respect to Robbie Williams who will be performing in Israel on Saturday, yes”? Their meaning: “Hey, this guy was here first”.
That 80s teen heart-throb was none other than Adam, who pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in Israeli pop music with an androgynous look coupled with a hard rocker voice. According to his biography in LGBTQ online magazine, A Wider Bridge, “Adam was born and raised in Acco under the name Haim Cohen… Adam’s singing career began in France in early 1986 under the stage name ‘Cris Life’… Then he returned to Israel and began recording his first album ‘Sod’ (‘Secret’), which was produced by Izhar Ashdot, who also arranged and composed seven of the nine songs on the album and played all the instruments in the recordings.
“Adam’s first song, ‘Ein Motza’ was the Hebrew translation of ‘No More Light’ and became a mega hit in Israel. It was followed by two more massive hits: ‘Sod’ (title track) and ‘Nose’a Rahok’ (‘Traveling Far’). The album sold double platinum by 1987 and Adam became an overnight success – probably the most commercially successful male solo artist in the history of Israel”.
Ein Motza (No Exit)
“In 1987 and 1988 Adam was named Favorite Male Singer of the Year and his song ‘Mitzta’er’ (‘Sorry’) was selected as Song of the Year in 1988. He won the Festigal- Hanukkah’s traditional musical competition- for four consecutive years”.
“By the end of 1988 Adam became a sex symbol and was followed by dozens of female fans wherever he went… [Adam] publicly came out as a homosexual in 2007”.
Adam’s career has had its highs and lows but over the years, his work has become more personal and less commercial. In 2010, he participated in and wrote songs for a documentary film about his life, “Haim and Adam.”