Songs for Thanksgiving

The AWESOME! page has random music stuff that I think is cool. You never know what you will find here!

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays – and yet in culture, it seems like it has lost some of its lustre. When I was growing up, it was one of the big days – four days off from school, a big “Mom-cooked” meal with family, lots of football, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (the last float at the parade always had Santa on it, making Thanksgiving the official start to the Christmas season). Now, radio switches to 24/7 Christmas music weeks before Thanksgiving Thursday, sometimes even before Halloween! And surprisingly, there just isn’t a ton of songs about giving thanks. But…I’ve managed to find a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy the flashback. I’ll link YouTube clips for each of them.

Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant Massacree – it’s not about giving thanks, but it is set during Thanksgiving (“…it all started two Thanksgiving’s ago…”), and after it was released in 1967, it became a tradition for many classic rock radio stations to play the full 18+ minute song on Thanksgiving day. It is a protest song against the Vietnam War draft, documenting the mostly true story of how Guthrie was once arrested for littering and how the arrest later endangered his eligibility to be drafted. The lyrics to the story-song are not sung, except for the “You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant” chorus. Rather, it is mostly a spoken monologue with Guthrie’s ragtime guitar backing the story. It’s an absolute hilarious classic – too long to detail here, and you can watch it here, a version from 2005.

Andrew Gold – Thank You For Being A Friend – Gold released the song as a single in 1978, stating that it was “just this little throwaway thing that took him about an hour to write.” The pop tune reached #25 on the Hot 100, but there have been some covers of the song that gave it additional legacy. A version of the song recorded by Cynthia Fee became the theme song for the long-running NBC sitcom The Golden Girls – that show ran for seven seasons and won eight Emmy awards. The most famous Golden Girl was Betty White – in a May 2010 episode of Saturday Night Live, White was the host of the show and she sang it with the other cast members of The Golden Girls, followed by White wearing a ski mask and singing a death metal version of the song.

Bing Crosby – I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For – in 1942, Paramount Pictures released the musical film Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and others, featuring a story and music by Irving Berlin. The most famous song from the film was Crosby’s White Christmas – the song won the Academy Award for Best Original song, and eventually White Christmas became the world’s best selling single of all time. But another popular song from the film was Crosby singing about the things he was thankful for. “I’ve got eyes to see with, ears to hear with, arms to hug with, lips to kiss with, someone to adore. How could anybody ask for more?”

Dido – Thank You – Dido was an obscure British singer-songwriter when Eminem asked her if he could sample her song Thank You in his 2000 hit Stan, released in November 2000. Dido received even greater exposure when she was cast as Stan’s pregnant girlfriend in the music video for Stan. Suddenly, everyone knew about Dido and her lovely song Thank You. Dido released the single in September 2000, but after the success of Stan, Dido’s Thank You shot up the charts, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100. It’s about being depressed and losing her house, but the friendship of another gives her reason for thanks, “for giving me the best day of my life.” It’s a personal fave of mine – it’s on her debut album No Angel, another gem in my music collection. Here’s the video (her song, not Eminem’s).

Alanis Morissette – Thank U – Morissette is one of my favorite singer-songwriters of the 90s. I’m mesmerized by her vocal style, particularly her angry, piercing vocals that cover three-plus octaves. Her 1998 song Thank U was written after Morissette took a trip to India, a year and a half break after years of work in the music business. The trip was a spiritual awakening for her, and she wrote the song expressing the gratitude, inspiration and compassion that she felt afterwards. The song reached #17 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Top 40 chart. She gained notoriety with the music video, which features her walking naked through the streets of a city, with her long hair covering her breasts and her pubic area blurred out – there was nothing overtly sexual about the video, but rather it symbolized vulnerablity in public places. Check it out.

Adam Sandler – Thanksgiving Song – Sandler is famous for his silly songs, many of which he performed on Saturday Night Live while he was a member of the cast. This one was first performed on a Weekend Update segment on November 21, 1992, a predecessor to his more famous The Chanukah Song. Hilarious – see for yourself, on the original SNL clip.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *