“Welcome back to the menorah, y’all.”
For the second year in a row, the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and producer Greg Kurstin are releasing a nightly series of videos they call the Hanukkah Sessions.
The premise is that they’re covering songs by Jewish artists – and musically, the song choices are all over the map. Think Barry Manilow one day, the Ramones the next. Last year’s roster included artists from Peaches to Drake, the Beastie Boys to the Velvet Underground.
Last year, the first time the pair produced their Hanukkah Sessions, Grohl said this about the series:
“This project, which initially began as a silly idea, grew to represent something much more important to me. It showed me that the simple gesture of spreading joy and happiness goes a long way, and as we look forward, we should all make an effort to do so, no matter how many candles are left to light on the menorah.”
With all the mishegas of 2020, @GregKurstin & I were kibbitzing about how we could make Hannukah extra-special this year. Festival of Lights?! How about a festival of tasty LICKS! So hold on to your tuchuses… we’ve got something special coming for your shayna punims.
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) December 10, 2020
In an interview today with NPR’s Morning Edition Kurstin described the videos as little nightly ‘gifts.’ “In Hanukkah, a lot of families will give a present every night, and the kids get very excited. And that was the spirit where this came out of.”
“Maybe we’ve created a new tradition,” Kurstin continued. “It’s just fun. I think we’re going to have to continue doing this every year. I don’t know how we’re going to stop.”
Kurstin (who is Jewish) and Grohl (who is not) release a new video each night of Hanukkah, which this year began the night of Nov. 28. We are including all the 2021 videos below, adding them as they are released. The text below each video is from Grohl and Kurstin, writing about that day’s song.
Night 1: Lisa Loeb, “Stay (I MIssed You)”
“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.
Night 2: The Ramones, “Blitzkrieg Bop”
“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!”
Night 3: Barry Manilow, “Copacabana”
Barry Pincus – not only one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th (or any) century, but a mega-mensch to boot!
Night 4: Van Halen, “Jump”
“Quite possibly the loudest and proudest of hard rocking Jews, David Lee Roth has gone on record crediting his Bar Mitzvah preparation as his earliest vocal training. He became a rockstar the day he became a man: Diamond Dreidel DLR and Van Halen…with ‘Jump.'”
Night 5: Amy Winehouse, “Take the Box” (sung by Violet Grohl)
“Despite this song’s mention of a ‘Moschino bra you bought me last Christmas,’ it’s common knowledge that the amazing woman behind the song was actually Jewish. Gone far too soon…Ms. Amy Winehouse and ‘Take The Box.'” The song is sung by Dave’s daughter, Violet Grohl.
Night 6: Billy Joel, “Big Shot”
“While he claims a secular Long Island upbringing (and has songs full of Catholic and Italian imagery), Billy Joel remains one of the great Jews of musical scripture—here’s his ultimate ode to a true Macher: ‘Big Shot!'”
Night 7: The Clash, “Train in Vain”
“Michael Geoffrey Jones, born to Russian Jewish mother Renee Zagansky, would come to be known as punk rock legend Mick Jones, co-founder of The Clash. It’s London Calling Jerusalem as we take a ‘Train In Vain.'”
Night 8: KISS, “Rock and Roll All Nite”
“Ladies and gentlemen….we made it. Night 8! And what better way to celebrate another year of Hanukkah Sessions than Chaim Witz and Stanley Eisen….two young lads from Queens that set the world (and thousands of stages) on FIRE as Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS!!!”
Grohl added this message on his YouTube page:
“Greg and I would like to thank all of the people that helped ramp up the Hanukkah Sessions this year. It’s gonna be tough to beat! (But we will. Oh, we will…..) We hope that this year’s batch of hits has brought a little joy to you, as it surely did to us! Now let’s rock and roll all nite and party everyday until next Hanukkah! L’Chaim!!!!!!”
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