Jewish You A Merry Christmas:
Elseblog @ Breakthrough Radio

My week at Breakthrough Radio ends with today’s entry, and as promised, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer a little thanks and good cheer for the season. What follows is a repost, originally shared last year on Cover Lay Down under the title The Twelve Jews of Christmas: Folk Covers of Holiday Classics by Jewish Songwriters; though for obvious reasons its interest is seasonal, it remains one of my most popular posts ever, and I’m happy to share it here today. Enjoy!


Today we celebrate the holiday coversongs of Jewish-American songwriters, most notably the prolific Johnny Marks, who is best known for penning a holy host of non-canonical Christmas songs, and lesser known for being the head of ASCAP from 1957 to 1961.

Familiar carols written by Marks include Holly Jolly Christmas, which most of us imagine in the voice of Burl Ives, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which is based on the story by Marks’ brother-in-law, and I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, which Marks adapted from a Longfellow poem. He also wrote Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree; I was hoping to share some folkcovers of that song, too, but for some reason, I can’t find any.* Wonder why?
*[UPDATE 12/15: Rose Polenzani and Rose Cousins to the rescue!!]

In fact, a significant percentage of “traditional” Christmas tunes turn out to have been written or co-written by “verifiably Jewish artists”. Here’s a few more, mostly from the country and alt-pop ends of the folk spectrum, though the list runs the gamut from urban folk to indiefolk:

No purchase links today, kids: many of these songs are in the public domain, and even those that aren’t are hard to avoid this time of year. (Plus, how the heck do you link to a songwriter?) Just keep on buying your Christmas music from artists and labels directly, and we’ll call it square, okay?

Category: Elseblog, Holiday Coverfolk

13 Responses to “Jewish You A Merry Christmas:
Elseblog @ Breakthrough Radio

  1. online jewish music | Digg hot tags

    [...] Vote Jewish You A Merry Christmas: Elseblog @ Breakthrough Radio [...]

  2. Friday Morning Free Music: Cover Lay Down « Steve’s Media Blog

    [...] free music today comes courtesy of Cover Lay Down; it’s some holiday music covered by Jewish artists.  Check it out, there’s some good stuff to be [...]

  3. Susan

    The Roches holiday CD is my favorite! - it’s the first one my family plays to welcome in the season. Love the latin flavor of Deck the Halls, the Middle Eastern sound of We Three Kings and their Noo Yawk accent in Winter Wonderland - their harmonies on For Unto Us a Child is Born (from Handel’s Messiah) are sublime…

  4. Tart

    Wonderful songs, thanks so much! xoxo

  5. How Marvellous

    these are real nice - many thanks to you.

  6. xuh

    Totally unrelated: it seems your great blog is the only one in the blogosphere to carry James Taylor’s “A change is gonna come” cover, but since last November it got removed from Box.net; any chance to re-up?
    Thanks! Xuhh

  7. boyhowdy

    Thanks for the good cheer and comments, folks. We’ll have a bit more Holiday Coverfolk in the same vein up tomorrow.

    PS for Xuhh: check your email.

  8. Covered In Kidfolk: Christmas Specials (Seasonal TV Tunes For Folk Fans and Families) — Cover Lay Down

    [...] In Kidfolk: Christmas Specials (Seasonal TV Tunes For Folk Fans and Families)Jewish You A Merry Christmas: Elseblog @ Breakthrough RadioPop Top Covers: Elseblog @ Breakthrough RadioStarmakers and the Blogging World: Elseblog @ [...]

  9. Bonus Holiday Coverfolk: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree With Rose Polenzani and Rose Cousins — Cover Lay Down

    [...] Rose CousinsCovered In Kidfolk: Christmas Specials (Seasonal TV Tunes For Folk Fans and Families)Jewish You A Merry Christmas: Elseblog @ Breakthrough RadioPop Top Covers: Elseblog @ Breakthrough RadioStarmakers and the Blogging World: Elseblog @ [...]

  10. John Appossyphew

    First of all congratulation for such a great site. I learned a lot reading article here today. I will make sure i visit this site once a day so i can learn more.

  11. Kristin

    It’s interesting to find out the sources of these songs. Thanks for sharing!

  12. » Oye To The World - Dissociated Press

    [...] Expanding on the list just linked to (and offering some free downloads), you might also check out Jewish You A Merry Christmas. But we’ve come a long way since the days when the only hip Hannukah songs out there were [...]

  13. Covered in Kidfolk: Stocking Stuffers (New tribute albums and compilations for cool moms and dads) — Cover Lay Down

    [...] herein are relatively recent but not new releases - I’ve long treasured [and previously posted] Martin Sexton’s Holly Jolly Christmas, love Deanna Carter’s delicate fireside Winter [...]


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