Top 10 Hottest Jewish Musicians
The Festival of Lights is upon us, as the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah officially kicks off at sundown tonight.
Some of music's leading bigwigs will likely be sparking up the menorah, among them Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen, Diamond David Lee Roth, Perry Farrell and Bob Dylan - maybe, is he Jewish or Christian this year? - who are all of Jewish descent.
Those men have a couple of other things in common: They're all brilliant songwriters, and old and crinkly too. Instead, Rocks Off compiled a list of - what else? - our 10 Hottest Jewish Musicians.
10. Jenny Lewis: "Everyone assumes I'm a little shiksa," the Rilo Kiley front woman once joked to The New York Times. Though the Jewish-by-birth former child actress (The Wizard, Troop Beverly Hills) admits to not being particularly religious, the strawberry blonde's girl-next-door good looks have earned her a comfy spot on our Hanukkah Hotties list.
9. Slash: Opening for Ozzy Osbourne at Toyota Center January 18, Saul "Slash" Hudson was born to an African-American mother and Jewish Brit father. While we imagine the Guns N' Roses / Snakepit / Velvet Revolver guitarist isn't particularly religious, he has been known to sport a Star of David necklace on occasion. His diverse background and notable guitar skill - not to mention that hair - make him a certain contender on our list of hot (half) Jewish rockers.
8. Charlotte Gainsbourg: Though the London-born, Paris-bred actress/songstress may be known for her French roots, she is actually of Jewish descent. Her father, the late singer-songwriter and actor Serge Gainsbourg, was the son of Russian-Jewish parents who fled France after the Russian Revolution. The striking electro-pop singer (whose last album was produced by fellow Jew - erm, Scientologist - Beck) bears a certain je ne sais quoi that earns her a spot on our list.
7. Lenny Kravitz: You're likely aware that Lenny Kravitz is the son of late Bahamian actress Roxie Roker of The Jeffersons fame, but his late father, TV producer Sy Kravitz, is Russian-Jewish. The singer has said, "I'm Christian through choice, but I'm also a Jew... it's all the same to me." This could explain his fondness for former wife, the beautiful and also half-Jewish actress Lisa Bonet. It seems a Jewish or Gentile gal could win his heart... So Lenny, "are you gonna go my way?"
6. Jakob Dylan: Wallflowers frontman and smokin'-hot son of Bob Dylan, Jakob's face adorned our bedroom walls for a good chunk of the '90s. Though he rarely speaks of Judaism, he's said his Wallflowers bandmate Rami Jaffee would insist on observing Hanukkah while the band was on tour, towing yarmulkes and candles and leading the band in prayers during the holiday's eight days. While we're not exactly sure what ever happened to the Wallflowers, Jakob - lately cavorting with alt-country sirens Kelly Hogan and Neko Case on this year's Women and Country - sure is still nice to look at.
5. Scarlett Johansson: Another "halfsie," the Lost In Translation starlet's father is Danish and her mother is an Ashkenazi Jew. Though we're most familiar with Johansson on the big screen, she's made a name for herself on the music scene as well, first releasing Tom Waits covers record Anywhere I Lay My Head in 2008. Last year, she and songwriter Pete Yorn released the duets album Break Up - and did you see those steamy publicity photos?
4. Dave Gahan: The bio of Depeche Mode's front man says he was "born in Essex, UK, to a working-class Jewish family," which is good enough for us. The burly baritone singer never particularly comments on his religion (or lack thereof), but we are certain of two attributes needed to qualify him for this list: Jewish roots, and sheer hotness.
3. Susanna Hoffs: When we were initially discussing possible hotties for a holiday list, the fortunate-looking former Bangles frontwoman was jokingly (read: wishfully) mentioned. A little research and luck led us to the discovery that our favorite Eternal Flame is indeed Jewish. In fact, Hoff's grandfather and uncle are even rabbis.
2. Regina Spektor: The Soviet Kitsch songstress was born in Moscow to a Russian Jewish family. The piano-playing beauty often pulls from Old Testament biblical themes in her songwriting, most notably in "Samson," which is loosely inspired by the Hebrew Bible's lion-wrestling Israeli Judge. Spektor seems to have it all: Brains, beauty, skill and a smile that could light up the menorah on its own.
1. The Beastie Boys: "I'm a funky-ass Jew and I'm on my way," raps King Ad-Rock in "Right Right Now Now." Though the hip-hop group may seem like a trio of ruffians from the wrong side of the Brooklyn tracks, they're actually nice Jewish boys from upper-middle-class families. Adam "MCA" Yauch now aligns himself with Buddhism, but nevertheless, the Beasties top our list as the Jewish songsters we wouldn't mind, sharing our latkes with all year.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.