“The Chanukah Song”: Adam Sandler Strums a New Holiday Standard

Adam Sandler (right) on 'Saturday Night Live'
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Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

When the holiday season rolls around, Christmas carols are a dime a dozen, but what about Chanukah songs? Not so easy to come by. Sure, there’s more than just “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” but there’s a reason why so many comedians have joked about how that’s the only one there is, and that’s because the pickings truly are slim, at least in terms of songs within the popular parlance.

Thankfully, Adam Sandler helped add at least one new tune to the mix: on the Dec. 3, 1994 episode of Saturday Night Live, Sandler introduced viewers to “The Chanukah Song.” Written by Sandler and fellow SNL writers Ian Maxtone-Graham and Lewis Morton, the song made its debut during Weekend Update, with Sandler offering the following introduction:

When I was a kid, this time of year always made me feel a little left out, because in school there were so many Christmas songs, and all us Jewish kids had was the song ‘Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,’ so I wrote a brand new Chanukah song for you Jewish kids to sing, and I hope you like it.

From there, Sandler launched into the song, which provides listeners with a plethora of individuals who you may or may not have been aware were Jewish...and, okay, sure, he makes a few mistakes here and there, but not many in the grand scheme of things.

Mind you, this would in no way be the only version of “The Chanukah Song” to find its way into the zeitgeist: since then, there have been four different versions of the tune, and you’d best believe we’re going to share them all.

First, there’s the version that appears on Sandler’s 1996 comedy album, What the Hell Happened to Me? Granted, it’s basically the same version that he performed on SNL, but there’s a much larger and more enthusiastic audience thrilling to his every word.

Then there’s “The Chanukah Song, Part II,” which was recorded live at Brandeis University and appears on Sandler’s 1999 album, Stan and Judy’s Kid.

From there, it’s on to “The Chanukah Song, Part III,” which Sandler recorded for the soundtrack of his 2002 animated film Eight Crazy Nights.

And last but not least, we have “The Chanukah Song, Part IV,” which Sandler performed live for the Judd Apatow & Friends event during the New York Comedy Festival in November 2015.

In closing, it’s worth mentioning that only one of these versions actually charted: the original version, which hit No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 28 on the Adult Top 40, and No. 25 on the Alternative Airplay chart. Still, for a Chanukah song, that ain’t bad!

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