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Happy Hanukkah to our Favorite Jewish Artists


Dec 20, 2011 11:51 AM

Michael Lauf

To all my fellow Jews out there, Happy Hanukkah! We thought it’d be fun to compile a list of our top 8 favorite Jewish musicians in ABC order. One for each night! And if you’re expecting Adam Sandler to make this list you can forget about it. Once you play yourself as a girl in a should-be-straight-to-DVD movie, you’re off the list.

So without further ado, enjoy.

1. Beastie Boys

Let’s face it, when you think of Jewish musicians, Hip Hop doesn’t often come to mind. Kind of like when you think of Hip Hop, Jews don’t normally come to mind. But these guys have been holding it down since 1979, and still kicking ass 30 years later. No doubt, they were a driving force behind the modern day Hip Hop era, and anyone (much less three…even if one did convert) who can balance that kind of responsibility and temple at the same time…well I just have the utmost respect.

2. Sammy Davis Jr.

Would he have made the list if this was just best musicians of all time? Maybe not, but let’s look at the facts. He chose us!!! Not only was he an iconic figure in Sinatra’s Rat Pack, but I’m sure he had enough to deal with, being a black musician in the 50’s and 60’s. As if that wasn’t enough adversity, he just decided to throw another wrench in the gears and call himself a Jew? Ballsiest move I’ve ever seen. Yeah…he’s in the top 8.

3. Danny Elfman

Many of you might be wondering who Danny Elfman is. The only response I have to that is 1989, a pivotal year in my childhood. Tim Burton’s Batman came out, as did the first episode of The Simpsons. And Danny Elfman wrote the score for both. Other films he’s composed the score for: Beetlejuice, Mission Impossible, Men in Black, Good Will Hunting, Spider Man, Big Fish, and a TON more. (Not to mention he pulled in a Grammy for those last two.)

4. Art Garfunkel

6 Grammy’s, a Lifetime Achievement award, and in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And he did all of that without ever hiding that magnificent Jew-fro of his.

5. Scarlett Johansson

Let me first address all your questions. Yes, she’s Jewish. Yes, she’s put out an album. And yes, I’m in love with her. My list, my rules. Was her album even any good? Honestly, who cares.

6. Randy Newman

I’ll keep this one short…Toy Story.

7. Gene Simmons

I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Really, Gene F*%king Simmons?” But you can’t deny, this guy revolutionized a very specific brand of music – Glam Rock. There’s no better feeling than coming home from a great concert amazed at not only the sounds you heard, but the visual experience as a whole. Sure, it’s about the music, but the visual effects in a concert can make or break the show often times. And we can thank Gene Simmons for that. Not to mention, he’s slept with, literally, thousands of women.

8. Weird Al

And finally, we have #8, Weird Al. Wait…what’s that you say? He’s NOT JEWISH???? You’ve gotta be F*%cking kidding me!!

The real 8. George Gershwin

Ok, in case you’re still upset about Scarlett, Gene, Weird Al, or any of my other choices, I’ll give you a serious one. George Gershwin. Not someone we think about too often these days, but he truly did change early 20th century music standards. Both classical and modern musicians still, and will always, be performing renditions of Rhapsody in Blues and An American in Paris. My motto, once you’ve had a Broadway theater named after you, you’ve made it.

But now for a special Hanukkah present for all my Jewish and non-Jewish brethren alike. The Jews who didn’t make the list in no particular order.

1. Adam Sandler
2. William Shatner
3. Paula Abdul
4. Neil Diamond
5. George Michael
6. Mike Gordon and the rest of Phish
7. Zac Efron
8. Julio Iglesias (yep, he’s actually Jewish…and maybe should have made the list)
9. Matisyahu (he would have made it, until he shaved his beard)
10. Lenny Kravitz
11. Adam Lambert
12. Ashley Tisdale
13. Barry Manilow
14. Amy Winehouse
15. Michael Bolton
16. Mandy Moore (love her too though)
17. Adam Duritz (Counting Crows)
18. Olivia Newton-John
19. Madonna
20. David Lee Roth
21. Jack Black (he probably could have made the list. He’s Sonic f*%king Death Monkey)
22. Phil Spector
23. Barbra Steisand
24. Adam Levine