[I'm more than annoyed. I just spent about 15 minutes formulating a blog entry, and somehow it got lost...and is now floating around in cyberspace. If anyone finds it -- there is NO REWARD.]
Earlier today I found myself humming "Adon Olam" and was hit by a recollection from my junior high school years.
I attended the city's largest Jewish day school, a Talmud Torah school, and by grade 6, the boys and girls were separated for most of the Jewish studies classes, including Tefillah.
While in junior high, we had shlichim come from Israel to be our teachers in Jewish studies. They were lovely people who, with their families, had to adjust to their three-year tenures in a new country, in a new climate, in a new school. They also had to adjust to the trials and tribulations of teaching teenagers.
Teenage girls, being hormone-induced, can be downright cruel between the ages of 12-16, and can be very trying on an adult. Such was the case with our Tefillah class in grade 8, I believe it was.
One day, while waiting for our teacher to get to the classroom and lead us in Tefillah, one of the girls started singing "Adon Olam" -- but not to one of the two standard tunes. She sang it to "Jesus Christ, Superstar"! And the words fit to the tune! Other girls started to join in. Now imagine: it's a Jewish day school, a moderately Orthodox Jewish day school, and "Jesus Christ, Superstar" is being sung when the teacher walks in. I recall her yelling at the girls to stop, and having to say it more than once to get them to shut their "pisks". But these girls found it a challenge... And in a Tefillah class the next week, one of them piped up with "Adon Olam" sung to the tune of "Rock Around the Clock" as done by Bill Haley & the Comets. Somehow the teacher managed to control the class, but I can only imagine what an earful her husband would get at night when she came home after teaching.
Having witnessed these "new" versions of "Adon Olam," I tested out the theory that you could sing "Adon Olam" to the tune of nearly any song -- I sang it to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"; to "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack; to " Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles. Somehow the theory hasn't failed me yet.
Why not try for yourself. Find a favorite and familiar R & B tune, pop song, Broadway showtune, or Hassidic melody and adapt "Adon Olam" to it. And if doesn't work...? [shrug] ....well, at least you'll have made some beautiful music -- to your ears!