Gary Holzman, aka Yid Rock

Uncovering the Jewish songwriters of rock n roll’s golden age

For well over 100 years, Jewish composers have helped define the Broadway musical and its place in the great American songbook. The collective influence of Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Leonard Bernstein et al. are inestimable.

Yet what many people don’t realise is that Jewish songwriters were also responsible for many of the greatest rock and pop classics of the 20th Century. Some of these writers, like Bob Dylan, Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen and Carole King are megastar performers in their own right.

Many more, however, are known only to a select few, despite the influence their songs have had in defining a generation. Songs such as Rock Around the Clock, Jailhouse Rock, Twist and Shout, Viva Las Vegas, Do Wah Diddy Diddy, For Your Love, Piece of My Heart, Whiter Shade of Pale, Black Magic Woman, Build Me Up Buttercup, Like A Virgin and You’re the Voice, to name but a few, were all written by Jews.

Read the full article by Alan Hartstein at Plus61J.