Chanukah is early this year, so we thought it’d be a good chance to go against the tinsel-covered grain and give you some latke-and-candle-friendly anthems. Eight crazy nights of them, to be exact. Today, we travel back to the psych ages with the Electric Prunes.
Aside from “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and “The Chanukah Song,” Chanukah really doesn’t have a lot of holiday standards. Maybe that’s because all the Jews are busy writing Christmas songs, but there’s a reason you’re not going to hear “Oh Chanukah” at Target nearly as often as “O Tannenbaum”: we’re better at melancholy than we are at joy.
So maybe that’s why Judaism’s most enduring song actually comes from Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the year (i.e. the one day that even the casual, non-practicing Jews show up in droves). “Kol Nidre” is haunting, stately and powerful, which may explain why the Electric Prunes were so drawn to it in the late ‘60s. Yes, those Electric Prunes, the same psychedelic longhairs behind that immortal garage rock nugget, “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).” Here, they beef up the liturgy with some strings, drone and free-jazz sax soloing… about as ‘60s as you can get.