Top 20 Thanksgiving Songs
With the holiday season blowing into town like a blizzard, many of us turn up the heat and turn on our stereos to enjoy the musical writings that make us reminisce of years gone by. I was sitting here, thinking to myself, certain holidays have certain moods and clearly favorite soundtracks. What do you think of when you hear the “Monster Mash”? Halloween of course. “Jingle Bells”? Christmas. But what songs grace the playlists of today’s get-together, Thanksgiving?
Thinking about that, I drew a lot of blanks. It seems like most people generally start playing “holiday” music after Halloween (and sometimes before), but most of that music gets played straight on through to Christmas. So I sought out to make a good list of songs that would make a great playlist for this day, where we sit around and gorge ourselves on food to the point where we can do nothing but sit around and groove to some good tunes.
1. Johnny Cash – Thanksgiving Prayer
2. Mary Chapin Carpenter – Thanksgiving Song
3. Lydia Maria Child – Over the River and Through the Woods
- An interesting side-note on this song in particular – “Over the River and Through the Woods” was originally penned in 1844 to be a Thanksgiving poem, entitled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day”. It wasn’t until years later that some of the lyrics were changed to make it into more of a Christmas song.
4. Sister Sledge – We Are Family
5. Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous
6. Dido – Thank You
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Thanks for the Memory
8. Otis Redding – I Want to Thank You
9. Johnny Lang – Thankful
- Johnny Lang’s first CD was given to me as a gift for Christmas years ago. It has always made great holiday music. This track happens to be off his 5th studio release, and I feel it is more appropriate for Thanksgiving time.
- Man, I used to think I didnt have a lot
Now I realize just how much Ive got
Now every day Im gonna take the time and stop to be
- Thankful, thankful
Ive gotta take the time to say, that Im
For every single breath that I take
Ive gotta be thankful, thankful
10. Motley Crue – Home Sweet Home
- I thought this song was fitting because of the lyrics themselves. Often times after we become adults, we strike out on our own. But this is the time of year that we all return back home, to be with our friends and family, and think fondly of old memories.
- You know I’m a dreamer
But my heart’s of gold
I had to run away high
So I wouldn’t come home low
Just when things went right
It doesn’t mean they were always wrong
Just take this song, and you’ll never feel
Left all aloneTake me to your heart
Feel me in your bones
Just one more night
And I’m comin’ off this
Long & winding road
11. Bob Marley – Give Thanks and Praises
12. Madness – Our House
- The vibe of this song makes me think about all of my family gatherings. Tired parents, kids running amok, everyone is together in the house but in the end we all go running off, back to our old lives.
- I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we’d play simply waste the day away
Then we’d say nothing would come between us two dreamersFather wears his Sunday best
Mother’s tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister’s sighing in her sleep
Brother’s got a date to keep
He can’t hang around
13. Descendents – Thank You
- While this song may not truly be about Thanksgiving itself, it is a grateful song and it wholeheartedly represents what I am thankful for – the ability to listen to great music, see amazing bands, and the memories that I have that would never be the same without that.
14. Paul McCartney – Gratitude
15. Alanis Morissette – Thank You
16. Jay and the Techniques – Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie
- C’mon. With a song title like that, and being a classic jam from the 60s, this just had to make the list!
17. Natalie Cole – Be Thankful
18. Simon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound
- I’m sittin’ in the railway station
Got a ticket for my destination
On a tour of one night stands
My suitcase and guitar in hand
And every stop is neatly planned
For a poet and a one man bandHomeward bound
I wish I was
Home, where my thought’s escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
19. Ray Charles – Sweet Potato Pie
20. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
- The Charlie Brown Holiday Specials are timeless pieces of artwork that defy any time period. Though this cartoon was released in 1973, I’m certain that children today are still enjoying. According to TV Guide, it will be playing on ABC this year! The wonderful fusion between iconic characters set to amazingly composed music by Vince Guaraldi makes this a must-have and a must-see for everyone!
So after thinking as hard as I could, those were the twenty best (in no particular order) songs that I could find for Thanksgiving. That being said, and since you made it to the bottom of the list, I have two bonuses for the grand finale!
A Thanksgiving Tribute to the William Tell Overture:
And my personal favorite, Turkey Dubstep: