In honor of the last day of Chanukah 2017, here are my top ten Jewish rock stars:
10. Perry Farrell – Not only is Farrell responsible for creating Jane’s Addiction, one of the most unique hard rock bands that melded many different styles and cultures, he also is a cultural icon. He created the Lollapalooza festival which is a part of the fabric of American culture and a part of our every-day vocabulary.
9. Scott Ian- Ian founded Anthrax, one of the Big Four thrash and metal bands. Ian also was a maverick in melding the worlds of heavy metal and rap. Along with Charlie Benante, Scott Ian continues to lead the band.
8. Bob Kulick – Known for his ghost work with KISS, Kulick has had quite the successful career as a touring and studio musician as well as a producer and songwriter. He is responsible for arguably WASP’s greatest work and for writing the timeless Motorhead tribute to professional wrestler Triple H. Like his brother, Kulick is a class act.
7. Bruce Kulick – Always a consummate pro and gentleman, Kulick played some of KISS’ best lead guitar work while a member from 1984-1996. He remained a fabric in the KISS machine and was a significant ghost player on Psycho Circus. His solo work on great recordings such as BK3 speaks for themselves. He also does quite well on Billy Squier’s Tale of the Tape. Kulick is a current member of Grand Funk Railroad.
6. Dee Snider – Technically half Jewish, Dee fronted Twisted Sister, which at one time was a brutally heavy and outrageous band playing clubs throughout New York and New Jersey. Lemmy of Motorhead made them an adopted member of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The band would achieve commercial success and failure, which would eventually lead to some very tough times for Snider. A true testament to the man is the fact he never gave up, which lead to Snider’s amazing comeback. Part of this comeback was a Christmas song he wrote, which unbelievably was covered by Celine Dion. “The Magic of Christmas Day” made him a handsome sum in royalties.
5. Marty Freidman – The amazing guitarist who was a driving force behind Megadeth’s great album run, Rust in Peace to Cryptic Writings, now is a part of Japanese culture and continues to write great music.
4. David Lee Roth – Yes, the dynamic front man who with his blond hair and larger than life presence, was the poster boy for the perfect California look. He is also Jewish. Roth was part of the historical Van Halen success until 1985. He rejoined the band in 2007.
3. Gene Simmons – Born in Israel under the name Caim Wiz, Simmons is one of two leaders KISS, which is one of the greatest and most influential bands ever. I have had the pleasure of meeting Gene 3 times and he is always a gentleman. His mother is a Holocaust survivor.
2. Paul Stanley – Paul gets the slight nod for keeping the KISS machine going, especially during the more challenging period in the 80’s and early 90’s. His songwriting is a notch above Simmons’ as well.
1. Geddy Lee – Like Simmons, Lee’s mother is a Holocaust survivor as was his late father. Born Gary Weinrib, Lee got his stage name from his mother’s pronunciation of Gary. Lee is his birth given middle name. Geddy’s resume speaks for itself. He is one-third of Rush, one of the greatest bands of all time. His musicianship and songwriting is amazing only to be eclipsed by his humble personality and common-sense approach to life. I highly recommend everyone to watch his recent interview with Dan Rather to see that Geddy Lee is not only an amazing rock star but also an amazing person.
This list was written by Joe Becht. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBecht