This Rosh Hashanah Parody Is So Rock and Roll – Kveller
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This Rosh Hashanah Parody Is So Rock and Roll

Six13's High Holidays take on this classic Chicago song is delightful.


via Six13 on YouTube

If you were to ask me which song the first major Rosh Hashanah parody of the year would be based on, my money would definitely not have been on a 1969 song that many believe is about psychedelics from American rock band Chicago, but I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised by this new bop from Jewish a cappella pros Six13.

The group just premiered “5784,” a Rosh Hashanah adaptation of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4.” The song, which was recorded the same month as Woodstock, has a jazzy feel and incorporates a lot of trumpet, trombone and saxophone, a perfect allusion to the sound of the shofar. In fact, instead of the repetitive brass instrument theme in the original song, in their parody, Six13 sings the different names of the shofar blasts. It’s pretty brilliant when you think about it.

While it has been assumed through the years that the song is about taking illicit drugs and its title refers to the quantities of said drugs, thanks to lyrics like “wondering how much I should take” and “should I try to take some more,” original Chicago band member and writer of the song, Robert Lamm, said the song is simply about… trying to write a song.

Either way, the sensations described in it are pretty familiar to anyone who has fasted for Yom Kippur — Lamm writes about “staring blankly into space” and the room spinning, which would happen if you were hangry and worn out from a fast (or just your time in synagogue), making it a perfect choice for a High Holiday parody.

Six13 changed the opening of “Waiting for the break of day/Searching for something to say” into “Waiting for the shofar blast/ So that I can break my fast.” Of course, they’ve also added a lot of sweetness and positivity to what is essentially a pretty kvetchy song — singing about dipping apples and honey and wishing for a sweet new year.

And of course, “25 or 6 to 4” is seamlessly changed into the new Hebrew year 5784 — the group jokes that they waited for the perfect rhyming year to parody their favorite song. Six13 had to incorporate some Yiddish to successfully rhyme the title, wishing everyone a “gut yohr” instead of “good year.”

I have to say, this surprise contender is turning out to be one of my favorite Rosh Hashanah parodies of all time. After all, the High Holidays are pretty rock and roll.

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