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The Five Best Thanksgiving Songs (And One Dishonorable Mention)

There aren't a lot of Thanksgiving songs out there but here are five worth listening to and one you definitely shouldn't!

I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise that there aren’t many Thanksgiving songs out there. It just isn’t a song-heavy holiday. Don’t believe me? Here’s a definitive list of holidays by the number of songs associated with them: 

  1. Christmas 
  2. Easter (this includes old hymns and spirituals)
  3. Veteran/Memorial Day (pretty much any pro-military song falls here) 
  4. Halloween (“Monster Mash” and “Thriller” are really the only two but they’re huge)
  5. 4th of July 
  6. Arbor Day
  7. Thanksgiving

That list seems a bit unfair. So let’s try to rectify that situation by thinking about some of the great Thanksgiving songs.

Some of these are only tangentially related to Turkey Day and a few are just me messing around, but I think I found five definitive Thanksgiving Songs worth singing around the turkey and dressing. 

Thanksgiving Is In The Name

“Thanksgiving Song”  by Mary Chapin Carpenter

A heartwarming, straightforward classic.

Father, mother, daughter, son
Neighbor, friend and friendless
All together everyone
In the gift of loving kindness

 “Thanksgiving Song”  by Adam Sandler:

Very silly, lots of things that rhyme with turkey.

Eat that turkey
All night long
Fifty million Elvis fans
Can’t be wrong
Turkey lurkey doo and
Turkey lurkey dap
I eat that turkey
Then I take a nap


Related: Adam Sandler Reveals Netflix Made Him Remove Plot Involving China From Their Upcoming LeBron James-Produced Film Hustle

“Thanksgiving Prayer,” by  Johnny Cash

It’s the Man In Black so you know its gonna be very sad and very honest:

And when the time comes to be going
It won’t be in sorrow and tear
I’ll kiss you goodbye and I’ll go on my way
Grateful for all of the years
I thank for all that you gave me
For teaching me what love can do
Thanksgiving day for the rest of my life

Related: Johnny Cash “Ragged Old Flag” Has Even More Meaning Today

Popular Thanksgiving Food Mention

“(Do the) Mashed Potatoes” by James Brown

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving dinner staple. I’ve never been a big mashed potatoes guy (texture issues) but I do love gravy, and gravy and mash are a magical combination. This is also a style of James Brown you didn’t hear in his later career. Early James Brown was amazing!

Now We’re Just Talking Nonsense

“Gobbledigook” by Sigur Ros

Okay, this one is just for me. Sigur Ros is an Icelandic avant-garde ambient rock band that my mother once called “frightenly calm” a lot of their songs are sung in Hoplandish a made-up language, hence the name Goobledigook. 

Dishonorable Mention

“Gobble Gobble” by Matthew West

This song is too meta and clever for its own good. It is a Thanksgiving song about how there aren’t any Thanksgiving songs. This is the “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” take of songs.

It isn’t about the holiday itself, but how about how the holiday is viewed. Frankly, it’s annoying. I appreciate the effort and the surprising success of this video but watch at your own peril.

Watching this made me start to agree with the people who want to cancel Thanksgiving. You’ve been warned.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving song? What did I leave off? Let us know in the comment section below.

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