The joke used to be that there were relatively few Hanukka songs around, especially in comparison with the glut of Christmas tunes.
But this year there are more menorah-inspired melodies vying for people’s attentions on the internet than there are ways to spell the Jewish (c)holiday.
No less than five newly minted Hanukka songs are competing for the top spot.
The most viewed so far is “Channukah Rock of Ages” by Aish.com which has garnered over 300,000 hits on Youtube.
The eight-song medley created by the Jewish outreach group serves mostly as a vehicle for an all-boy dance troupe wearing yarmulkes and prayer shawls to bust their move.
Throughout the four-minute clip dancers engage in a wide range of elaborate steps, from disco to hip hop, while the lead singer parodies songs whose lyrics have been changed to relate to the Festival of Lights. Thus, the hook in Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” has been replaced with “goodness, gracious miracle of oil”; Steppenwolf’s “born to be wild” is sung “pure jug of oil” and MC Hammer’s 90s hit “Can’t Touch This” is instead “got to eat this,” with the camera focusing on a pile of donuts and latkes.
Jewish boy band The Maccabeats are currently a close second with 280,000 viewers. Their original tune “Miracle,” a harmony-rich pop song sweeter than a jelly donut, gives thanks to the divine intervention that made the jug of oil to burn eight days and nights. The clip guest stars Mayim Bialik of “Blossom” fame and ends with US President Barack Obama personally introducing the Maccabeats when they played at the White House last year.
The dance-inflected “Light up the Night” by the Fountainheads was third with 80,000 views. The words accompanying its up-tempo beats are in English and Hebrew. Its video was shot with the Judean desert in the backdrop.
Other Hanukka-themed songs released this holiday include Pella Productions’ “Holiday Party (Tonight, Tonight)
and “The Rocky Horror Chanukah Song” by The Shlomons, which parody punk legends The Ramones.
Micah Smith, whose company Shoot East produced the clip for Aish.com,
said the only aim in making the videos was to spread holiday mirth.
"While The Maccabeats and Fountainheads go on tour to raise money ,” he said. “The purpose of all three videos is entirely altruistic."
He said he was personal friends with several of the producers of the
other clips and that there was a "friendly rivalry" over who will have
the most hits.
Meanwhile, other Hanukka songs on the Web were also gaining attention this holiday season.
Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart’s humorous 2008 duet “Can I Interest you
in Hannukah?” kept popping up despite copyright restrictions.
The original version of the song which perhaps inspired the new wave of
Hanukka-themed songs is currently unavailable on the Web. Adam
Sandler’s famous “Hannukah Song,” which he first played on Saturday
Night Live in 1994, was not on Youtube because of NBC's protective
copyright policies. But a bevy of covers including one where Sandler teams up with comedian Rob Schneider were.