Music News

Light My Menorah

These days, most gentiles (that's non-Jews, folks) think Hanukkah is some sort of Christmas equivalent for God's Chosen People, but the truth is, it's one of Judaism's minor holidays and has moved to the forefront only since secular pop culture felt the religion was getting the shaft during the "holiday season." Still, it seems an apropos time to consider some of our greatest Jewish pop and rock stars, and wonder just what it would be like to have them swing by during the eight crazy nights of the Festival of Lights to spin a dreidel or two.

Neil Diamond: Neil Diamond is Jewish, yet he's recorded two Christmas albums. That's about as odd to us as Bing Crosby and David Bowie teaming up for a duet of "The Little Drummer Boy," but, hey, we also can't imagine a more enthusiastic pop star to lead us through a house-shaking, sequin-filled performance of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel."

Paula Abdul: Everyone has that crazy uncle or aunt who spends the entire holiday blitzed out of his or her mind, whose only reason for being there is to entertain the kids while bobbe tries to keep him or her from spilling wine on the rugs. That's what Hanukkah with Paula Abdul would be like, except we wouldn't worry so much about the rugs.

Matisyahu: As much as we like Matisyahu's blend of reggae, rap, and traditional Hassidic teachings, the musical rabbi tends to get a bit preachy and mistakes energy for fun. However, we can't imagine a more interesting take on the singing of the Ma'oz Tzur hymn than what he'd bring to the post-candle-lighting tradition.

Susannah Hoffs, The Bangles: Susannah Hoff walks like an Israeli, but she's also the stuff of our childhood dreams. We're not saying she'd have anything more to offer the eight-day celebration than her beautiful face and her lovely voice, but, well, we are saying that's enough to satisfy at least a few of our childhood dreams.

Gene Simmons, Kiss: The tongue trick just never gets old. Plus, his band knows a thing or two about pyrotechnics. Could add an interesting twist to the lighting of the menorah.

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Cole Haddon