Gene Simmons touched upon the importance of Jews in modern culture during a new chat with American Songwriter. Simmons, the son of a Nazi concentration camp survivor, whose father served on the weekends in the Israeli army, was born Chaim Witz in Tirat Carmel, Israel and only moved to the U.S. at the age of eight.
Simmons spoke about the crucial role Jews played in the creation of rock n' roll, explaining, “The real secret that’s not widely talked about is that it was Jews — y'know, originally, it was race music. Black music was not allowed to be heard on white radio. And it was really the Jews — (Jerry) Leiber and (Mike) Stoller, who wrote, 'You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog' and 'Give me fever in the morning,' all that black music. The Coasters and Ben E. King and all that, written by two Jews. Two Jews who couldn’t stand Broadway and that kind of schmaltzy music that the other Jews were doing. They loved black music and they were responsible for a lot of the black music that came out there. Elvis (Presley), Big Momma Thornton, and all that. “
He went on to say, “The truth is that if it wasn’t for Sam Phillips and a lot of the other guys, early rock ‘n’ roll, including Elvis, would have never happened. It was these Jews who owned the record companies that opened the doors to black music. Sam Phillips recorded Bo Diddley and lots of other stuff while the rest of the record companies would never touch them.”