"Ariel" is a hit single written and performed by Dean Friedman, released in April, 1977. It was the first of two hits from Friedman's eponymous debut LP, Friedman. "Ariel," however, was his only hit in North America. It reached number 26 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 17 on the Cash Box Top 100, and number 19 in Canada. The song spent 22 weeks on the Billboard chart and 24 weeks on Cash Box.
"Ariel" has been described as a "quirkily irresistible and uncategorizable pop song about a free spirited, music loving, vegetarian Jewish girl", from Paramus, New Jersey, where he grew up. The lyrics describe the young girl from "deep in the bosom of suburbia," who sang "mighty fine," with "'Tears on My Pillow' and 'Ave Maria'" perhaps implying that he was Roman Catholic. It describes the girl Ariel, "standing by the [since dismantled] waterfall at Paramus Park", one of the many shopping malls in Paramus. The quarters she was collecting for "friends of BAI" refers to the New York radio station WBAI, and their listener association, while the song also makes reference to "channel 2," which refers to local CBS affiliate WCBS-TV.
Chicago radio superstation WLS, which gave the song much airplay, ranked "Ariel" as the 60th most popular hit of 1977. It reached as high as number four on their survey of August 20, 1977.
The record label which produced "Ariel" insisted Friedman change the song's second verse, which refers to the eponymous Ariel as "a Jewish girl", believing that radio stations might use it as an excuse not to play the record. The third verse was also removed to make the single shorter for radio. The management company received threats from the Jewish Defense League protesting against the edit and, at Friedman's insistence, the original version was put on the album.