Design your family's holiday photo cards with humor - it's one of the easiest and most personal ways to make Hannukah rock!

Jingle Punx do "Chanuka" on their 2006 CD, It's What I Got In My Sack.

The Barenaked Ladies do a triple-header with "Hanukkah Blessings," "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah" and "I Have a Little Dreidel" on Barenaked For the Holidays.

Hal and Georganna Barry Singer give us a holiday novelty, "The Night Hanukkah Harry Beat Up Santa Claus."

Moe does a semi-spaghetti Western version of "Oh Hanukkah" on their CD Season's Greetings From moe.

Atlanta rockers Another Man Down rock out with "The Dreidel Song," available on some regional compilations like Holiday Band Aid.

Huffamoose does "Hanukkah and Christmas Hand in Hand" on It's About Christmas, various artists (It's About Music)

The South Park album, Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics, features "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel" with Stan, Cartman and the Broflofski family, a hilarious ensemble singing piece, and Kyle's classic "The Lonely Jew On Christmas."

Black Tape for a Blue Girl's "Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah" is on Excelsis: A Dark Noel, various artists (Projekt)

Sofia Run performs "Nerotai Hazarurim (Little Candles)" on Excelsis Vol. 2: A Winter's Song, various artists (Projekt)

Save Ferris cover the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" with a Hanukkah twist on Santa's Swingin' Sack, a KROQ-FM compilation.

The Goblins offer "Ha-Ha Hanukkah" on The My Pal God Holiday Record, various artists (My Pal God Records)

Shudder To Think performs "Al Hanisim" on O Come All Ye Faithful: Rock For Choice, various artists (Columbia)

Hetch Hetchy performs "Candles and Miracles" on The Mother of All Flagpole Christmas Albums, various artists (OrtTone)

Calamity Jane does an instrumental of "The Hanukkah Song" on It's Finally Christmas, various artists (Tim Kerr Records)

"Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah" appears on It's Christmas, Man! by Brave Combo (Rounder) in a hora version, according to the liner notes.

"She's a Yamakah Mama (At Hanukkah Time)" by the Ubangis appears on It's a Rockin' Christmas, various artists (Run Wild)

Dr. Demento: Holidays In Dementia, various artists (Rhino), offers two tunes, "Hanukkah Rocks" by Gefilte Joe and the Fish and "Hanukkah Homeboy" by Doc Mo She.

Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" is on his album What the Hell Ever Happened to Me. Then he does "Part 2" on Stan and Judy's Kid. Finally, he does "Part 3" on the soundtrack to "Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights."

Santa's Got a GTO, a various artists compilation (Dionysus), features two songs: "Til Next Hanukkah" by Velouria and "Santa Doesn't Come to Little Jewish Children's Houses" by the Yid Kids.

Another version of "The Hanukkah Song" was performed by a Chicago band, the New Duncan Imperials, which is the B-side of their "Santa Claus Is A Lie" 45. It can be ordered from their label, Pravda Records.

The Therapy Sisters perform "Abraham's Lament" on their album Codependent Christmas.

Banned on Earth do a version of "The Dreidel Song" on their Big Blue Christmas Balls CD.


Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah, The Klezmatics (JMG)

This could easily be the subject of one of those "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" quizzes in which they tell three unlikely stories and you have to pick which one would be true. And I guarantee you, only Guthrie scholars would have gotten this one right — that Woody wrote an album's worth of Hanukkah tunes during his lifetime. The Klezmatics were granted access to his notebooks to ferret these tunes out and add music to them (except for "The Many and the Few" and "Hanuka Dance," which Woody wrote in total) in the vein of the fine Wilco/Billy Bragg Mermaid Avenue discs. Woody didn't go all Sufjan Stevens on the holiday mind you, so the disc is fattened up with originals like "Gilad and Ziv's Sirba," "(Do the) Latke Flip-Flip," "Groovy's Freylekhs," and "Spin Dreydl Spin." Not exactly rock 'n roll, I'll grant you, but klezmer is perfectly fine party music, after all.


A Rockin' Hanukkah, Poppa's Kitchen (self-issued)

Nothing hard about this one, the title says it all. "Hanukkah (Say It Loud, Sing It Proud)" starts the show in a standard Seventies rock groove, then there's more of the same in the title song ("There's Ed Shapiro/He plays guitar like a rockin' hero)." "Hanukkah Is Right Around the Bend" is a ballad backed with chiming synth and shakers, and then "Burning Flame," an ode to menorahs and their meaning, shifts between country and rock. "Oy Veh Blues" takes a Jewish approach to the three-chord musical style, and the whole thing wraps up with "Rededication." Overall, a workmanlike approach that will probably appeal mostly to folks who want something a little different for Hanukkah.


I Made It Out of Clay, various artists (Little Shirley Beans)

I'm embarrassed to have not caught up with this 1999 album until recently. The backstory to this Hanukkah Alert is that a then-16-year-old Shirley Braha compiled this grouping of 20 original performances of indie-pop-rock odes to the Jewish holiday. Our website has pointed out numerous examples of rock 'n roll Hanukkah tunes in the past, but full CDs of original tunes on the topic are pretty rare. There's kind of an amateur touch to a lot of performances, but a lot of folks will consider that a feature rather than a bug, as they say in the software biz, as the garage pop ethos rules here. It starts out promisingly with "Verhanukkah," a parody of Elvis Costello's "Veronica" by Kisswhistle, and "Menorah Mall" by Winterbrief, a slap at the commericialization of the holiday that repurposes the "12 Days" into eight. And who wouldn't want to spend "Hanukkah in Brazil" with Jumprope, complete with the mellow syncopation of this tune? Josh Bloom gives us a kind of Jonathan Richman/Rubinoos take on "Hanukkah Night," while the Casino Ashtrays' "The Relatives Song" takes on a universal situation from the Hanukkah standpoint. Chariots of Tuna give "I Found Me" a cool Nuggets treatment, while Metronome tries to bridge the religious gap for his "Hanukkah Girl." And even though it barely fits the theme, Bruce fans will want The Teacups' "Max Weinberg," about the E Street drummer and Conan O'Brien bandleader, not to mention The Rosenbergs' "Puff Daddy Isn't Kosher." Great fun for everyone, but unfortunately, Shirley warns us there are but a few fresh copies left of this.


Hanukkah Rocks, The LeeVees (Reprise)

The LeeVees are the brainchild of Guster's Adam Gardner and the Zambonis' Dave Schneider. The fact that they're opening for Barenaked Ladies on dates in December tells me everything I need to know about them. The BNLs treated us to a Christmas CD in 2004 leavened with a few Hanukkah tunes, and now for 2005 these guys give us the full pop-rock treatment for the Yiddish observance, no Christmas allowed. Happily, they dispense with any pretense at authenticity in favor of social commentary and lots of humor. You'll want to buy this just after reading the song titles: "At the Timeshare," "Goyim Friends," "How Do You Spell Channukkahh?," "Gelt Melts," "Kugel" and "Jewish Girls (At the Matzoh Ball)." And you'll be right -- the tunes all live up to the titles.


Chutzpah Eponymous, Chutzpah (Jewish Music Group)

This 2005 album isn't dedicated to Hanukkah -- it covers a lot of Jewish ground while parodying the conventions of rap and hip-hop. But Master Tav, Jewdah, Dr. Dreck, MC Meshugenah and the boys do give us "Chanukah's Da Bomb," an entertaining rap that gives us the "Menorah-ty Report" on the holiday. If this is enough for you, you can download just the track from iTunes. Other great song titles that can apply, or not, as you see fit, include "Da Lost Tribe," "Shiksa Goddess," "Tsuris," "Super Jew" and "The Shtetl," or as they sing it here, "the funky, funky Shtetl." You might miss the fact that Dr. Dreck is portrayed by George Segal, but it should be more obvious on the DVD version of this, "Chutzpah This Is?," in which he's joined by Gary Oldman, Debi Mazar, Viv Campbell of Def Leppard and Sharon Osbourne.


Christmas Jews, 2 Live Jews (Kosher)

This comedy duo has been doing the same Jewish-stereotype parody schtick for years, ever since they took off on 2 Live Crew with "As Kosher As You Wanna Be." From 1998, this is their fourth album, keyed in on the holidays (Christmas and Hanukkah, of course), and they jam it full of parodies like "Happy Chanukah" set to the tune of "Feliz Navidad," "Bagel Rock" instead of "Jingle Bell Rock" and "New False Teeth" based on "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth." You'll probably be able to connect the dots yourself on most of them: "Walking On Miami Beach Sand," "Deck the Broad," "Twelve Days on South Beach" and so on. Note the album begins with "The Jewish Follies Christmas Megamix," which is a medley of numerous cuts from the album and may be all you need.


"Light the F*cking Candles," Eva Moon (self-released)

A delightful Hanukkah Alert we have here for 2005, a punk rocker for those who would be glad "if Rudolph were a Maccabee." It's a download from this Seattle-based pop-rock singer-songwriter and parodist's website. If you like the song, pick up one of her mugs with the song title on it. (While the title is censored, the song most assuredly is not.) Update: There's a video of it now.


A Chanukah Feast, various artists (Hungry For Music)

We've told the Hungry For Music story elsewhere, and it all applies here to their 2004 collection of Hanukkah-related tunes. Traditional Yiddish folk songs line up here among a fair number of originals, covering a wide range of styles from actual klezmer to jazz, blues and rock. The Alexander Kleztet keep it real with three traditional selections, Lox and Vodka repurpose the old gospel tune "This Little Light of Mine" into "These Chanukah Lights are a Sign," the Jew-Bop All Stars jazz up "I Have a Little Dreydl," and the Hip Hop Hoodios syncopate "Ocho Kandelikas" with a bit of rock crunch in the middle. Honky Tonk Confidential give us "Honky Tonk Hanukkah," but it's more of a waltz, followed by Evan Johns and Dr. Louie's bluesy "Feel the Holiday Cheer." Chuck Brodsky's "On Christmas I Got Nothing" features a Dylan impression, and then Mark Novak aka MC Macabee gives us the hip-hop "If You're a Macabee (Then You're a Hammer)," and Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine bring it all back home with the comedic "Hebrew Blues." George Winston throws in a harmonica solo, "Variations on Rebbe Elimelech." This collection treads a fine line between observant and irreverent, so it may be too serious for some of you folks out there, but it's pretty good listening no matter what religion you are.


Festival of Lights 2, various artists (Six Degrees)

This 1999 compilation was the second of two albums composed to put a contemporary spin on Hanukkah music. Some of the songs are traditional, others are originals written in the spirit of the holiday. Contemporary and stately is definitely the order of the day; the only break in the mood comes from They Might Be Giants' "Feast of Lights," with its toy piano, rock beat and gentle satire of Jewishness: "You never write, you never call..." Serious stuff from such artists as David Koz, Robin Holcomb, Peter Himmelman, The Klezmatics with Chana Alberstein, Wayne Horvitz, Continuo, Neshama Carlebach and others. The first volume in this series is similar and featured Jane Siberry, Marc Cohn, The Covenant, David Torn, Frank London and John Leventhal. On that one, the only pop-rock move comes from "Lighting Up the World" by Peter Himmelman and David Broza. Overall, a little serious for Mistletunes' purposes, but good for folks who want a more modern sound to their Hanukkah celebrations.


Oy To the World, The Klezmonauts (Satire)

This is a sort of reverse-Hanukkah alert, in that klezmer music is a Yiddish folk form yet almost all the songs on this album are standard Christmas carols in klezmer style. "Deck the Halls," "Jingle Bells," "We Three Kings," the title carol, "Little Drummer Boy," and so on. One novelty tune appears here, "Santa Gey Gesunderheit," the only vocal, in which a Jewish haberdasher marvels at a certain North Pole's resident's ability to execute his Christmas Eve route. A one-joke album, handicapped further by the fact that The Three Weissmen executed funnier versions of "Deck" and "Jingle" in the same vein on the album Blame It On Christmas.


Mistletunes

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Novelties: Fifties and Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The Nineties, The 21st Century

Compilations: Regular Comps, Charity Comps, Soundtracks

Special Reports: Recent Releases, Hanukkah, Miscellaneous