WE’VE SEEN THE future of Christmas rock, and its name is…Adam Sandler? The ex-Saturday Night Live star’s ”Chanukah Song,” written, he says, ”for nice Jewish kids who don’t get to hear many Chanukah songs,” was among the most played tunes on the radio during the Festival of Lights — easily outpacing such classics as Bruce Springsteen’s ”Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” One Top 40 station, New York-based Z100, received more than 20,000 requests weekly at the height of the season. ”We had to disregard every rule we’d ever set up for holiday songs and play it as often as we’d play Pearl Jam and Alanis Morissette,” says Steve Kingston, Z100’s program director.
Helping to boost the radio play of ”Chanukah Song” — originally performed on SNL — was its lack of availability elsewhere. According to Stu Cohen, senior VP of promotion at Warner Bros. Records, ”The recorded version was given to us five days before Chanukah — we would have needed five weeks to get it out there in time.” The song does, however, give a PR bang to Sandler’s comedy CD, What the Hell Happened to Me?, due in February.
The ditty should resume control of the airwaves in 11 months. ”It’ll be a holiday standard,” says Kevin Peterson, program director of Atlanta’s Top 40 station Star 94. ”It’s not just Wham! singing ‘Last Christmas’ for the 100th time, it’s something different.” Like the song says: ”It’s so much Fun-ukah to celebrate Chanukah!…”