5: Song, the Electric Prunes’ “Kol Nidre,” 1968.
In 1968, pioneering avant-garde composer, record producer, and arranger David Axelrod released his album Release of an Oath, under the name of the American psychedelic conceptual rock band the Electric Prunes (which had already broken up, and with whom he had previously collaborated). The opening track, “Kol Nidre,” incorporates elements of liturgy together with repetitive, haunting sequences of notes reminiscent of the traditional melody of Kol Nidre.
Suggested Activity: Listen to the song together as a class. Ask your students to consider the relationship between this version of Kol Nidre and the other versions described in this resource kit. What is the relationship between musical performance and prayer? Between melody and text? What do you think Axelrod is trying to express about the relationship between the past and its traditions and the future-oriented music he tended to perform?
Students interested in the blending of musical genres in Kol Nidre performances may also wish to discuss Jeremiah Lockwood’s combination of blues and cantorial melodies in this performance.
Source: hitmusicsingles, “The Electric Prunes – Kol Nidre,” May 22 2010, video, 4:13, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pVUkQbcO4o.