From Thanksgiving to December 25, it seems you hear the same three dozen Christmas songs everywhere you turn. In fact, Christmas music is so inescapable that singers who don't even celebrate the religious holiday often find themselves in the studio crooning about Jesus' birth and Santa's reindeer.
To celebrate the "anything goes" spirit of the season, here are 15 Xmas tunes performed by Jewish singers. From Adam Levine's take on John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" to Barbra Streisand's 1967 Christmas LP, these tunes make as much sense as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer having a bar mitzvah. But when they sound this good, who cares?
The hardest rocking Jews in show biz would periodically pay tribute to the Christian holiday during the '80s by singing four-part harmonies on "White Christmas." But that makes sense for two reasons: 1) Jewish songwriting genius Irving Berlin wrote it and 2) The only thing kitschier than KISS is Christmas.
Despite being born into a Jewish family and holding a healthy suspicion for all institutions during his most-celebrated years, Robert Zimmerman became a born-again Christian in the late '70s. Given Dylan's caginess, no one knows how fervently faithful he currently is, but the rock legend recorded an entire Christmas album in 2009 called Christmas in the Heart. Our favorite is easily Dylan wheezing away on the jocular polka-flavored "Must Be Santa."
She attended the Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva of Brooklyn as a child. She donated a building for Jewish studies to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1984. She directed and starred in Yentl. Nevertheless, Babs lent her pipes to two Christmas albums over the years. Her first, simply called A Christmas Album, is a quintuple-platinum monster.
Born in Newark, NJ, to Jewish parents, Paul Simon only referenced his Jewish heritage once over the course of his many albums (on the title track to 1983's Hearts and Bones). But Simon & Garfunkel covered "Silent Night" to chilling effect in 1966 and in 2010, Simon released "Getting Ready for Christmas Day," which includes excerpts from a 1941 Christian sermon.
Powerhouse singer-actress Bette Midler released a Christmas album called Cool Yule in 2006 (that album also has the distinction of making our list of the 15 Dumbest Xmas Album Covers Ever). Her Jewish heritage makes the choice to record Christmas standards a little strange, but her take on "Mele Kalikimaka" makes sense given that she grew up in Hawaii after her parents left Jersey behind.
Born to a Jewish father and Irish mother, Barry Manilow singing Christmas songs isn't as confounding as Barbra Streisand singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem." But still, this Jewish singer has a whopping THREE Christmas albums: Because It's Christmas, A Christmas Gift of Love and the supremely hip In the Swing of Christmas.
The iconic crooner was born to a Catholic mother and Protestant father, but converted to Judaism in 1961 at the age of 36. Notwithstanding that Davis' last acting role was 1990's The Kid Who Loved Christmas, the singer recorded "It's Christmas Time All Over the World."
Despite the fact that the Maroon 5 singer "does nothing" on Christmas besides "wear ugly sweaters," Levine did find time to perform "Happy Christmas" with Sara Bareilles. Last month, the singer became People's first Jewish Sexiest Man Alive.
The pop legend once told a girl across the street that he was Jewish and she told him, "You're going to grow up and have horns on your head." The singer obsessively checked his head for months later. Joel has also joked about his circumcision, telling a German audience, "I had the snip and I had nothing to say about it. I'm still a little pissed off about that."
Born to a Jewish family in Manhattan, the popular songwriter released A Holiday Carole in 2011. The album combined standards with new songs written by her daughter Louise Goffin.
The "You're So Vain" singer wrote 1992's "The Night Before Christmas" for the film This Is My Life and released an entire album of Christmas songs with 2002's Christmas Is Almost Here. The latter featured a combination of traditional songs with original compositions, including "Heaven," a track written with sister Lucy.
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