A rock and roll band known for playing its Jewish-themed parodies of pop music, Shlock Rock has been around since the mid-1980s and is still active in the religious-parody scene, such as it is.

Shlock Rock caught my attention on the Sunday Simcha with their retelling of the David and Goliath story to the tune of Devil Went Down To Georgia. ("Now the Philistines turned and fled in a very big retreat / And Goliath lay flat on the ground right there at David's feet / David said, 'If you ever come back, you know the way it'll end / I've said it once, Hashem is one and I'll say it once again...")

A quick sampling on Napster shows that the parody is usually musically faithful to the original, although the meter is sometimes stretched. Shlock Rock is a bit conservative in outlook, but definitely eclectic in musical material; their Purim song Achashverosh (to Falco's "Amadeus") has a great beat, and "Prayer Jumping" (to Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping") is just as much fun as the original.

(what else?)

Shlock Rock was founded by frontman Lenny Solomon in 1986. While the band does perform some original material, it's primarily known for its output of parody songs, which shamelessly appropriate the tunes and arrangements of well known, universally recognized rock songs, for use with new lyrics. These lyrics usually concern Jewish observance and Jewish pride. Think Rabbi Meir Kahane with a dumb sense of humor and an electric keyboard instead of a thuggish army. The results are mixed, but occassionally it all comes together, particularly with sound-alike substitutions such as "I Love that Old Time Torah Scroll" (I Love that Old Time Rock and Roll) and "Barbanel" (Barbarel).

The only crime inherent in this type of music occurs when sheltered religious Jews listen to Shlock Rock, and end up recognizing a given parody song, but not the song it originates from. A student at my high school comes to mind, who could sing the Shlock Rock song "If you'll be my study guide/ I can be a mitzvah gal" but didn't even know of the existence of Paul Simon's "If you'll be my bodyguard/ I can be your long lost pal".

On the road there are "160 different Shlock Rock bands". This is because Lenny Solomon is the only band member who actually goes anywhere; he recruits the remaining band members from in or near the city that he's performing in. Apparently good Jewish yeshiva bachurs, rabbinim, and baale-batim have better things to do than go on tour. New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area band members include: Discography:
Info from my personal recollections and from www.shlockrock.com

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