Burgess in the 1970s
And today
Photo: Alex Galperin
'I took an oath to never leave Israel'
Forty years after John Lennon sat with him at Abbey Road studios and defined his song as 'anthem of psychedelic era,' Ken Burgess releases a new album. Since then, he has converted to Judaism and started a religious family. Ynet brings you one of his remakes to a 1970s song, this time with 'kosher' words
It was the winter of 1966. The Beatles were recording songs in London's Abbey Road studios. John Lennon and the rest of the foursome worked in studio No. 1, while Ken Burgess sat in the adjacent studio and worked on the song "My White Bicycle," which he had written for the Tomorrow band.


Lennon entered the studio, listened to the song and was excited. Shortly afterwards, in an article in British music magazine Melody Maker, Lennon described the song as "the anthem of the psychedelic era."


Following this declaration, the song became a huge success, and Burgess even received a golden record for it. Ten years later, a new version of the song was released, courtesy of the Nazareth band, and also topped the charts worldwide.


Burgess continued to create music, taking part in adaptations and productions of rock groups and many musical projects. At the end of the 1970s he released his first solo album, simply called "Ken Burgess."


Today, 30 years later, Burgess has his own studio in Ramat Gan, he is married to former Pure Souls soloist Nava Baruchin, and about to release a fourth CD of Jewish music.


The new album is a remake of the 1970s album, but this time he says the words are "kosher." Burgess has just completed the adaptation of the album's first single, which you can listen to here.


How did things turn out this way? Burgess met Baruchin in the early 1980s in Paris, when he was asked to produce an album for her. The two soon became a couple, and Burgess – who was not Jewish – chose to convert. He was converted to Judaism by a Reform rabbi, but later discovered that the Chief Rabbinate does not recognize this procedure.


The couple decided to undergo an Orthodox conversion, which Burgess began in Britain. Simultaneously, Baruchin drew closer to Judaism and became religious.


The conversion difficulties abroad convinced the couples to move to Israel. Rabbi Israel Meir Lau sent Burgess to a conversion school, where he studied the concepts and rules of Judaism for two years. He was declared a sincere proselyte in 1995.


The Elul term

Burgess maintained his connection with the music industry, producing albums for Doron Mazar and Danny Litani. In the Hasidic arena, he joined forces with leading artists, and about five years ago built his studio, where Hasidic stars – like Mordechai Ben David, Yaakov Shweky and Yishai Lapidot – record their music.


His wife's solo album, "Hold on to the Dream," for which Burgess served as musical manager, was released at the beginning of the year.


"I generally look at the new album as an amendment of the previous one," he tells Ynet. "The album's songs are very personal on the one hand, but talk to everyone on the other hand. The main message is the desire to draw closer to the Creator of the universe and cling to him."


The artist explains that the new album will only be released on Hanukkah, in about four months, but that he chose to release a first single from it now as the month of


Elul is a suitable time for the song's message, "which deals with self-examination, with what we did and what the future holds for us, with the need to be optimistic and with the possibility of being involved in what happens. Every person knows that he must 'make an effort,' work for a better future."


'This is my home'

Asked if he misses the 1960s, Burgess simply says no. He adds, however, that he does miss the friendships of those days and the positive, tensionless atmosphere between one another.


"But that was a different world," he says. "A period of peace and love."


If the current album succeeds, Burgess is considering going on a concert tour in Israel. "The CD's success depends mainly on God, and if people are really moved by it, there is a chance we will perform."


And what about international success? Is that possible? "Everyone who has listened to the album has said that it could succeed outside Israel as well," he says. "But even if this happens, I won't be there to reap the fruits of success. I have taken an oath to never leave the Land of Israel, and I won't violate it under any circumstances."


פרסום ראשון: 09.10.08, 08:14
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