BEST HANUKKA SONGS – SPIN
While it’s fair to say that pop culture has more Christmas carols than Festival of Lights songs in pop culture, it’s also fair to say that Christmas songwriters have seriously hit a wall, as almost all carols Popular Christmas cards were written during the 1700s and 1800s. This was not the case with the Hanukkah blacksmiths, who only began to flourish in the last century.
To commemorate the 2,000+ year anniversary of the nation’s recovery of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the start of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire – and that miracle where oil lasted for eight nights instead from that expected – we present a diverse selection of gems from the new musical gestalt of the holidays.
“Chanukah Song” I, II, III and IV
With his tetralogy “Chanukah Song” (yes, four different interpretations released over a 21-year period, listing 93 different Jews and Gentiles, with the exception of Neil Diamond), Adam Sandler truly served challah to the crumbs. The right was earned however, as the OG acoustic version, written in 1994 with Saturday Night Live Staff members Ian Maxtone-Graham and Lewis Morton for the show’s “Weekend Update” segment, has become the undisputed abba (Hebrew for father) of modern Chanukah songs. It even sold out, having risen to No. 25 on the Billboard Alternative Charts that year – no small feat at a time when true alternative rock reigned supreme.
Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song, Part II” was recorded live at Brandeis University for his 1999 album Stan and Judy’s Kid. He enhanced the game with a full band and audience before “The Chanukah Song, Part III” of 2002, which was taken from the soundtrack of Eight Crazy Nights. Sandler swung for the fences by adding an electric guitar, Rob Schneider and the 22-piece children’s choir The Drei-Dels. “The Chanukah Song, Part IV”, recorded in 2015 for a huge theatrical audience that reacts like the Beatles’ Shea Stadium crowd, brings it back to acoustics and keyboard – but still contains no mention of Neil Diamond.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
“8 days (of Hanukkah)”
For those who enjoy the reborn Motown sound, “8 Days (of Hanukkah)” by the late Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings is an everlasting soul jam that teaches vacationing with cozy analog vibes and animated Schoolhouse Rock style video. Born in James Brown’s hometown of North Augusta, South Carolina, and raised in New York near a Brooklyn Hasidic community, Jones, who is not Jewish, worked as a Rikers Island correctional officer and guard Wells Fargo armored car before a chance meeting with Gabriel Roth, founder of Daptones Records (and conductor of the Dap Kings), led to the release of his first record at the age of 40. She and the Kings spent the next 20 years propelling the revival of the New Soul alongside fellow Menahan Street Band label colleagues Charles Bradley and the El Michaels Affair, before her tragic death from pancreatic cancer in 2016.
TOO $ HORT
“Hanukkah (favorite time of year)”
Much less creepy and self-explanatory than 90% of Too $ hort’s songs, it’s unclear exactly why the West Coast rap legend chose to bring this up. That being said, the nice guy also known as $ hort Dogg isn’t giving up his job entirely, talking about spending time “with a Jewish girl, pinchin tuchus”, not telling anyone in particular “it’s not. Passover… now move that finished ass, ”and ending his secular psalm with“ Me, KB Harvey and Judah macked a bitch. ”Interestingly, the only mention on the Internet of a KB Harvey is a University of the British Columbia with a highly regarded article on “Infrared and Raman Spectra of Potassium Sodium Borohydride” published by the Canadian Journal of Chemistry. It remains to be seen who Judah is, but for anyone who works with Too $ hort and KB the donation neutrons, doing a triple-mack at a holiday party seems quite feasible.
“The Chanukah Song”
In 2004, Australian Jewish pop-punks YIDcore, a land under Sum 41 known for their hardcore covers of traditional Jewish and Israeli songs, turned Sandler’s version into an aggressive and swift cry of genre-critical Jews (including Joey Ramone , Richard Hell, “most Dictators”, “manager of Sid Vicious”). For budding young Judaic thrashers, the song is a magnificent demonstration of the cherished punk lore of traditional reorientation, which teaches while screaming. Released on YIDcore’s Adam Slander EP, with its blanket featuring Adam choking a (“the”) chicken, this one is all kinds of warm, fun, and fuzzy.
While not too different from most songs in Guthrie’s Canon, Woody’s “Hanuka Dance” is still a jolly jolly from an American legend. Essentially an acoustic freestyle children’s song, it’s short, liturgical and a bit silly – “Tippy tap toe, my little shtrooodler … skippy skip skip, my little fruitycake” – with enough energy to send the kids running in circles around a low table.
Although Woody is not Jewish, the song – one of his over 3,000 – was written for his second wife (whose mother was an accomplished Yiddish poet and songwriter on Coney Island) and their four children, including Arlo. Guthrie, who were all of the faith.
Los Angeles Gay Men’s Choir
“(I spend) Hanukkah in Santa Monica”
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles rendition of “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica” by Tom Lehrer is a 99-member choral version of the satirist-slash-Harvard American mathematician’s merry song, written at the Originated in the early 1990s for Garrison Keillor’s radio show, “The American Radio Company”.
A good tune of a holiday show in itself, the GMCLA’s take on what Lehrer called a “sort of response to the West Coast’s ‘White Christmas’ requires the video for full appreciation, featuring mass choreography. rarely found in standing choir settings.
Erran Baron Cohen
From the comedian’s older brother Sacha Baron Cohen comes a Yiddish rap version of the traditional “Dreidel song,” a number that Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation co-founder Josh Kun calls “an attempt to reinterpret Jewish tradition … in the Friday night spirit at the club.
Extract from Erran’s album in 2008 Songs in the Chanukah Key, the “Dreidel” video features two Hasids performing Beastie Boys moves on a rooftop, spray painting Hebrew letters on a wall between the dreidel throws. While the music is quite modest – a formal composer with ASCAP awards for his work on “Bruno” and “Borat,” Erran gets a lot less scum than his brother – it’s still a new take on a classic. Elders and Jewish purists can get down with, probably more than Too $ hort’s triple mack tuchus attack.
“The Chanukah Song”
Let’s say it again: Throughout Adam Sandler’s four versions of “The Chanukah Song,” there are mentions of 93 famous Jews and Gentiles – none of whom are Neil Diamond, possibly one of the Jews. the most famous in showbiz. Surely in retaliation for not making the cut, Jew Elvis and former Guns N ‘Roses guitarist DJ Ashba hijacked the original for a cover, which was released on Diamond’s 2009 vacation album. A cherry, cherry Christmas.
This brilliant version of FM-mall-rock features a shred handjob solo from Ashba and a PSA flip of Sandler’s cannabis big-up, which Diamond does “So drink your gin and tonicah / don’t smoke your marijuanikah.” Okay, the template is in place. We’re kidding, this one is pretty lame. The real reason this version made the list is the music video for the South Park-ety song which inexplicably features Tom Cruise floating in a crucifixion pose in front of a cross with bloodstained fingernails, which is quite a front thing- guardian and insolent who could I had Scientology assassinated Diamond.