myFiveBest Thanksgiving Songs
Thanksgiving isn't one of those holidays that has the music written for it quite like Christmas. People are more interested in eating and watching football than enjoying a good song, it seems. Maybe the tryptophan poisoning from the turkey just makes people want to sleep instead of singing or listening to a good tune? In any case, very few songs are written for this family holiday, but I have found five of them! With the lack of Thanksgiving songs, I suppose that calling these my five best is a little misleading. There just aren't a lot of them. It's probably more truthful to say, here are five songs of Thanksgiving I was able to find...I've added a little bit of history and videos of these songs, as well, to keep everyone entertained! If you have any Thanksgiving songs that I might have missed, feel free to add them here.
OVER THE RIVER & THROUGH THE WOODS (1844)
This is possibly the most identifiable Thanksgiving song out there. It's a little outdated because no one rides in a sleigh anymore and with global warming, there typically isn't any snow on the ground by Thanksgiving, but you still get the meaning out of the song. It was written by abolitionist writer, Lydia Maria Child. The song was originally a poem called "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day" and appeared in a magazine called Flowers for Children. Incidentally, this song is often mistaken as a Christmas song, but it was originally designed for Thanksgiving. Don't let Christmas fool you!
This song, written by Mary Chapin Carpenter, appears on her album Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas. I know, it says they are Christmas songs. Once again, Christmas thinks it has the market on all holiday songs. This one says Thanksgiving right in the title, though. This tender song will touch every heart with its simple message of gratefulness as families and friends join together in prayer, in song and in celebration.
This song is, by far, the longest piece on this list. Written by Arlo Guthrie, singer-song writing son of the Woody Guthrie, it is based on a true story of events that happened on Thanksgiving Day in 1965. It became so famous, they made the song into a movie in 1969 with the same title. The song lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds, occupying the entire A-side of Guthrie's 1967 debut record album, also titled Alice's Restaurant. It is notable as a satirical, first-person account of 1960s counterculture, in addition to being a hit song in its own right. The final part of the song is an encouragement for the listeners to sing along, to resist the U.S. draft, and to end war.
Another song entitled, The Thanksgiving Song, but completely different than the first! Adam Sandler performed this song for the first time on Saturday Night Live in November 1992. The song primarily revolves around the repetition of the word "turkey" in various two-line rhymes. The song is absolutely hilarious and has a lot of radio play each Thanksgiving. The song was so popular, it encouraged Sandler to write other holiday songs, as well.
Jingle Bells is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in 1857. Despite being widely regarded as a Christmas song, it was originally written for Thanksgiving. "Jingle Bells" was first recorded by the Edison Male Quartette in 1898 on an Edison cylinder as part of a Christmas medley entitled "Sleigh Ride Party". "Jingle Bells" was the first song broadcast from space, in a Christmas-themed prank by Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra.