When thinking about Adam Sandler as a musician, what are the top ten songs that come to mind? Although thinking about the comedian from Brooklyn may not always trigger memories of the man as a singer, speaking as a fan, I remember this was a big part of his act as a stand-up comic. I used to watch Saturday Night Live and my favorite episodes featured Sandler. From 1990 until 1995, he was one of the main reasons why I followed the show. I suspect many other fans likely felt the same way.
Saturdays with Sandler
Long before Adam Sandler became a famous actor that specialized in comedy, he was a Jewish kid who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Born on September 9, 1966, he was raised by a mother who was a teacher and a father who was an electrical engineer. When he was seventeen years old, he made his first appearance as a stand-up comedian on the stage of a comedy club in Boston, Massachusetts. What started off as a spontaneous moment turned into a career choice once Sandler realized this was his niche. It was enough for the young man to enroll at New York University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While there, he attracted the attention of Bill Cosby during his freshman year. The start of his acting career began with four episodes on The Cosby Show as Smitty. He was the friend of Theo Huxtable, played by actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
This led to a few more acting roles before Dennis Miller’s recommendation of Sandler to the producer of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels. Miller saw in Sandler a rare talent that deserved to be given a chance. Clearly, Michaels agreed as Sandler joined the SNL cast in 1990. While there, not only did he ham it up with the rest of the cast but also came up with his own material that would be included in some of the show’s skits. What Sandler brought with him on the small screen was that New Yorker’s charm that was undeniable. Even watching him in 1990 hit home with the reality that this man was destined to follow a path not much different than other SNL greats such as Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi.
Singing with Sandler
Speaking as someone who fondly remembers SNL as a fan, the reason Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi come to mind when talking about Adam Sandler was the musical act they brought before an audience as The Blues Brothers,. At the time, I was just a kid when the duo made their “bluesy debut” on the show in 1978. Even at eight years old, I remembered. For them, what started off as just another comedy act turned into something so much more. It became wildly popular, enough to make a movie out of it and a few songs making an appearance on the US Billboard music charts.
In the case of Adam Sandler, when he also broke into song on stage, this added a whole new chapter to the man’s career as an entertainer. Just like The Blues Brothers, his music also made appearances on the US Billboard music charts. This was also the same man who starred as Robbie Hart in the comedy movie, The Wedding Singer, in 1998. This came after already starring in hit big-screen comedies such as Airheads, Happy Gilmore, and Billy Madison. However, everything leading up to those movies and beyond was a very talented singer whose composition and songwriting ability demonstrated there was so much more to Sandler than met the eye. Aside from singing and acting, he’s also made his mark as a director, producer, and writer.
Interestingly enough, the 1993 movie comedy, Coneheads had Dan Aykroyd and Adam Sandler in it, along with a few other SNL legends such as Chris Farley and David Spade. When news got out that Sandler, along with Chris Farley, was fired by SNL in 1995, the event made me think of Billy Crystal. Even though it was the end of the SNL road for Farley and Sandler, I knew the world would continue to have their ribs and bladder tested by two incredibly talented men. Unfortunately, Farley passed away in 1997. At the time, he and Sandler were close friends so it came as no surprise Farley’s death would hit the comedian hard. Again speaking as a fan, what made Sandler truly a star was taking those losses in as an experience that would cause him to shine even brighter.
Let’s Get Happy
After earning financial success from hit movies after his run with SNL ended, Adam Sandler formed his own production company, Happy Madison Productions. While not every single one of his movies turned out to become a film critic favorite, most of them turned out to become big hits among Sandler’s fan base anyway. It also didn’t hurt many of his movies often featured fellow comedians such as Kevin James, Jon Lovitz, and Chris Rock, just to name a few. In fact, most of Sandler’s first batch of movies he starred in had critics deliver harsh comments against the man. However, it’s not unusual for critics to diss something while the fans give an enthusiastic double thumbs up. In the end, it’s the opinion of the fans that matter the most. Since 1990, they’ve made it clear they’re happy with Adam Sandler as an actor, comedian, and even a singer.
Aside from his collection of movies that range from comedy to drama, Sandler also has five studio albums to his credit. The first was 1993’s They’re All Gonna Laugh at You. This was the album that started it all as Sandler shared his personal experiences as a young man growing up in Brooklyn as a Jewish-American. It went on to become a double-platinum seller by the Recording Industry Association of America. This was followed by his second album, What the Hell Happened to Me?, which was released in 1996. Again, it became a double-platinum success story. 1997’s What’s Your Name? and 1999’s Stan and Judy’s Kid also became successful album releases, each of them becoming certified gold. His fifth and final album (so far) was 2004’s Shhh… Don’t Tell. Since then, Adam Sandler hasn’t produced any additional studio albums but this particular fan is hoping perhaps that will change soon enough. The man is never short of ideas and still remains one of the brightest stars to ever grace the entertainment industry. His song collection continues to grow with original material that deserves to be heard.
Top 10 Adam Sandler Songs
#10 – Somebody Kill Me
While Adam Sandler starred in The Wedding Singer in 1998, his role as Robbie Hart sang “Somebody Kill Me.” This was a song performed by a young man whose heart was in shambles after experiencing a breakup. It also served as a thorn in the singer’s side in the movie as his temper would be elevated enough to ruin the wedding before it was over. As a song, it was performed as an emotional number that demonstrated why Sandler earned such a loyal fan following. In the movie, Sandler addressed this to Drew Barrymore’s character, Julia Sullivan. Julia was Robbie’s love interest in the movie. This unlikely couple ran into a few snags before realizing they were meant for each other.
#9 – Chris Farley Tribute
On Netflix, Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh featured a musical tribute the comedian paid to the late great Chris Farley. Both of these men developed more than a working relationship as co-stars of Saturday Night Live. Even after the two were fired from the cast in 1995, they maintained a solid friendship. When Farley unexpectedly passed away in 1997, it hit Sandler hard. When he performed the “Chris Farley Tribute” as part of his Netflix special, this was Adam Sandler at his finest. Combining humor with the heartfelt appreciation of one of his best friends, gave this song a special meaning among the fans who remember the camaraderie shared by Farley and Sandler as a 1990’s comedic dynamic duo.
#8 – The Lonesome Kicker
What’s Your Name? was an album by Adam Sandler that was released in 1997. “The Lonesome Kicker” was a song about a lonely football kicker that played for his team. This was one of many songs performed by Sandler that demonstrated he was a Bruce Springsteen fan. It was he who inspired Sandler to put this song together and make it a fan favorite. This also became part of Sandler’s decision to make The Waterboy into a movie, using his Bobby Boucher character from “The Excited Southerner” to bring “The Lonesome Kicker” to life on the big screen.
#7 – We Need a Hero
When Adam Sandler:100% Fresh was aired as a Netflix comedy special, in 2018 the comedian turned “We Need a Hero” into a three-part musical that takes the listener to a plane crash, a runaway train, and a woman choking at a restaurant. Each of these scenarios had Sandler play the clueless hero who jumped into action in an effort to save the day each time. Despite his best efforts, his heroic actions only made matters worse.
#6 – Ode to My Car
From the 1996 album, What the Hell Happened to Me?, “Ode to My Car” was Adam Sandler’s rant about a car he apparently owned that spend more time as a lawn ornament than as a functional automobile. It’s safe to say many people who’ve owned at least one car in their life could relate to Sandler’s woes. I personally had a special nickname for mine, which was quite similar to the alternate title Sandler had for this song. In his performance, Sandler adopted a personality that sounded as if Bob Marley was a taxi driver having a meltdown over a vehicle that gave him nothing to be happy about.
#5 – A Christmas Song
Despite the fact he was fired from the SNL cast in 1995, Adam Sandler returned on occasion as a musical guest. “A Christmas Song” was a performance that was aired as a musical apology to Santa Claus. Throughout the song, Sandler listed off all the misdeeds he did that consistently put him on the naughty list. This was a song coming from a man whose child-like personality was put to good use, especially since Sandler himself grew up in a Jewish household. Their religion typically follows Hanukkah in December, not Christmas. This was also pointed out in the lyrics while Sandler went into a long list of reasons why he has a tough time finding himself on Santa’s nice person list.
#4 – Stan the Man
Believe it or not, even comedians as cheeky as Adam Sandler can have a soft side that’s powerful enough to come across as a tear-jerker. “Stan the Man” was his tribute to his father, which served as the final track from his album, Shhh… Don’t Tell. Released in 2004, this tribute to his father was also played during the end credits of Sandler’s 2010 comedy, Grown Ups. Throughout the song, he covered the man’s history and interests, along with the love Adam had for his father, even looking up to him as his personal hero.
#3 – My Little Chicken
Sung as a jazzy number, “My Little Chicken” was one of Adam Sandler’s most humorous songs as he shared his love for chickens. This came from his 1996 debut album, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You. While much of the album featured sexually explicit songs that saw Sandler fully unleashed as a comedian, “My Little Chicken” was also viewed from a different context. Nevertheless, it is a classic that worked beautifully with the rest of the original musical material Sandler came up with.
#2 – The Thanksgiving Song
One of Adam Sandler’s most popular acts as a stand-up comic was shifting his persona to resemble a kid. “The Thanksgiving Song” made its debut on a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live. Originally, this was supposed to be an annual SNL tradition for its Weekend Update satire news program as delivered by Sandler and his SNL co-star, Kevin Nealon. However, the song seemed to take on a life of its own as Sandler did another version of this song on SNL, Bruce Springsteen style. From there, Sandler did a live performance of the original song that would end up on his debut studio album, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!. This is the one that was released as a single and became a number twenty-nine hit on the US Billboard Alternative Airplay chart and a number forty hit on the US Billboard Adult Top 40 chart.
“The Thanksgiving Song” was Sandler’s debut single as a recording artist, which was released in 1996. The recording of it was in July 1993 while he performed it in California. As a song, it made reference to one of America’s most popular holidays, along with all the dietary-related traditions that went with it. He also commented about a certain baseball trade the New York Mets made he felt was a bad decision. Along with the mention of Darryl Strawberry, Sandler brought up the names of several celebrities such as Sammy Davis Jr., Betty Grable, and Mike Tyson.
#1 – The Chanukah Song
Fans who know a thing or two about Adam Sandler are familiar that he was brought up in a Jewish-American household. Because of this, he spent his childhood celebrating Jewish-related holidays such as Hannukah, the Passover, and Rosh Chodesh. “The Chanukah Song” was a novelty tune Sandler wrote and performed as a reflection of what life was like for him as a Jewish kid growing up in Brooklyn. Aside from Judaism, the New York City borough was also home to Christians who celebrated Christmas. Although both religions recognize the Holy Bible’s Old Testament, most of their views separate as Christians follow the New Testament while the majority of the Jewish follow the Torah. Because of this, Sandler’s upbringing didn’t include Santa Claus or any of the traditional holidays associated with the Christmas season. For him, it was following all the cultural traditions first laid out by the Hebrews who strictly followed the Mosaic laws that set the course for Judaism and its practices. As a song, Sandler shared what life was like for Jewish children growing up with Christmas-celebrating friends and neighbors. In the process, he listed off fictional and non-fictional associations with Judaism by using the names of celebrities who shared the same cultural heritage as him.
“The Chanukah Song” was comedic and educational at the same time, which is why it stood out so much when fans heard it as a single for the first time. It was popular enough to hit the US Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty. It also climbed as high as number twenty-five on the US Billboard Alternate Airplay chart and at number thirty on the US Billboard Adult Top 40. As a single, it was also Sandler’s most successful as it became certified gold with the Recording Industry Association of America.
Top 10 Adam Sandler Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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