Grohl lights up Chanukah again with celebration of Jewish songs
Jewish Telegraph, December 2021
ONE of the highlights of Chanukah last year was rock star Dave Grohl joining in the festivities.
With most of the world in lockdown, the Foo Fighters frontman teamed up with his Jewish producer Greg Kurstin for the Hanukkah Sessions — eight songs performed by Jewish artists released each night of the festival.
This saw the pair cover The Velvet Underground (Rock and Roll), The Knack (Frustrated), Elastica (Connection), Bob Dylan (Rainy Day Women #12 & 35), Peaches (F*** the Pain Away), Mountain (Mississippi Queen), Drake (Hotline Bling) and Beastie Boys (Sabotage).
And Grohl and Kurstin are again lighting up Chanukah this year with another eight ‘Jewish’ songs.
They introduced the new sessions on the Foo Fighters’ social media on Sunday by saying: “Welcome back to the menorah, y’all. Let’s kick it this year’s Hanukkah Sessions with one of Dallas, Texas’s favorite Jewish daughters. So put on your coffee shop spectacles and your Betsey Johnson dress and HAVA listen to this . . . Stay by [Lisa Loeb].” (sic)
For the video, Grohl donned a flowery dress and while the song started off as a straight cover, it then went death metal.
It was the turn of The Ramones on the second night. Blitzkrieg Bop features the group’s iconic ‘Ay oh, let’s go’ chant, which Grohl and Kurstin changed to ‘Ay oy, let’s goy’.
“Once upon a time, two nice Jewish boys from Queens named Jeffery Hyman and Thomas Erdelyi changed the world forever with their music . . . as Joey and Tommy Ramone! GABBAI GABBAI HEY!” the caption read.
Barry Manilow was the focus of night three with the pair covering Copacabana.
“Barry Pincus — not only one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th (or any) century, but a mega-mensch to boot!
“So, like a good neighbor, you deserve a break today. So grab a bucket of chicken and let’s get stuck on . . .,” they wrote.
Wednesday night was the turn of Van Halen — from their era with Jewish singer David Lee Roth.
Introducing their version of the group’s biggest hit, Jump, Grohl and Kurstin wrote: “Quite possibly the loudest and proudest of hard rocking Jews, @DavidLeeRoth has gone on record crediting his barmitzvah preparation as his earliest vocal training. He became a rockstar the day he became a man: Diamond Dreidel DLR and @VanHalen . . . with Jump.”
Sisters Haim also started a Chanukah tradition last year — Haimukkah — with a series of videos and giveaways. And this year, Alana, Este and Danielle have been posting daily videos, including giving away musical instruments and tickets to a preview of the film Licorice Pizza, which stars Alana.
Hamilton star Daveed Diggs last year released the song Puppy for Hannukah. This year, Diggs spent the first night of Chanukah frying latkes with his mother.
The West Wing actor Joshua Malina also posted a tweet of himself cooking latkes, while Big Bang Theory star and Jeopardy presenter Mayim Bialik showed off a batch of vegan sufganiyot and also shared a photo of herself with several menorot for her podcast, Bialik Breakdown.
Comedian Chelsea Handler posted a video of herself making challa — part of an extended gag about the limited holiday traditions in her family.
“We never celebrated Chanukah growing up. We lit candles and we got money,” she said.
Singer-songwriter Ben Kweller, who will support Ed Sheeran on his tour next year, posted: “Happy Hanukkah y’all!”
Closer to home, David Baddiel joked: “I don’t hold with spelling it Hannukah btw. There’s a world of Jewishness in the throat-catching Ch.”
Non-Jewish actor Eddie Marsan used an image of himself as Soly Malinovsky from recent BBC drama Ridley Road.
“To all my Jewish friends, happy Chanukah, from Soly. X”
Diva Mariah Carey posted a snippet of a video of her teaching two of her young children a Chanukah song she said she had learned in school.