Best Hanukkah song: 'I Have a Little Dreidel' or 'The Chanukah Song'? | The Tylt

Best Hanukkah song: 'I Have a Little Dreidel' or 'The Chanukah Song'?

Let's be honest, holiday music playlists for Jewish kids are sparse. There are no Bing Crosby covers of classic Yiddish songs. In this void, "I Have a Little Dreidel" has become the Hebrew standard for countless school performances. But many Jews think it's pretty lame. That's why Adam Sandler wrote the 1994 novelty hit "The Chanukah Song," which has become the unofficial Hanukkah song of sorts for millennials (despite the protest of parents). So you pick—which one is the best Hanukkah song? 🕎

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Best Hanukkah song: 'I Have a Little Dreidel' or 'The Chanukah Song'?
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Best Hanukkah song: 'I Have a Little Dreidel' or 'The Chanukah Song'?
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The history of how "I Have a Little Dreidel" became the go-to Hannukah song for American Jews is actually kind of interesting, and traces its origins back to a 1927 recording composed by Samuel Goldfarb. His son, Gordon, explains below:

“Generally speaking, in America Yiddish music influenced the popular music of Broadway and Hollywood,” he said. “With these kinds of songs, it was the opposite – it was an American tone being brought into a Jewish context.”
The dreidel song, adds Gordon [Goldfarb], “took some time to catch on,” and did not do so until the early 1950s, “when Hanukkah was becoming more commercial and parallel to Christmas.” There was no single hit recording of the tune – its popularity as a folk song seems to have spread organically.

The song is a fancied up nursery rhyme that gives Jewish kids something to sing during the holidays other than Christmas carols. It's catchy and respectful, two qualities that have made the song a staple in Hebrew homes for decades, as there have been countless covers over the years.

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Here's an acoustic cover of the song. Check it out.

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The Barenaked Ladies also took a spin at covering "I Have a Little Dreidel," which is probably the coolest thing you can say about the song.

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When Adam Sandler first debuted "The Chanukah Song" on "Saturday Night Live" in 1994, it was a revelation for modern American Jews who had grown tired of "I Have a Little Dreidel." Although considered a parody song, "The Chanukah Song" has become something of an unofficial Hanukkah song for millennials in the 22 years since its release. Sandler updated the song in 1999, 2002 (as part of the "Eight Crazy Nights" soundtrack), and 2015.

The song was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1996, and peaked at #28 and #80 on Billboard's Adult Pop and Hot 100 charts.

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Here is the updated version of Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" from 1999.

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Here is the updated version of Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" from the "Eight Crazy Nights" soundtrack, released in 2002.

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Here is the updated version of Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" from 2015.

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Best Hanukkah song: 'I Have a Little Dreidel' or 'The Chanukah Song'?
#DreidelSongFTW
A festive crown for the winner
#ChanukahSongFTW