It’s once again time for North Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving. (Other countries have similar holidays but we shall leave that for other authors to discuss.) Since you all seemed to enjoy other editions of the “Holiday Hits” series, it seemed only fitting to come up with yet another playlist for Thanksgiving as well.
This time, however, the Thanksgiving list has a more specific theme. This time, your starving writer has cooked up a veritable Thanksgiving feast of food tunes fit for the holidays. Here then is a sumptuous selection of side-dish songs so to speak.
(As per usual of late, the selections will be presented in the preferred “List” format. Seems like the polite thing to do after all.) The musical menu might not be totally traditional but there is a nice variety. So join the prog rock pilgrims and the “indie” Indians for a helping of hungry holiday hits.
(View the pictures to read the list.)
“Bread And Butter”
First up, “Bread And Butter”–The Newbeats: This 1964 song was the band’s first and biggest hit. It made it up to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and went gold in the US. It scored them a contract and served to inspire the 1970s-1980s jingle of Schmidt Baking Company: “I like bread and butter/I like toast and jam/ I like Schmidt’s Blue Ribbon Bread/It’s my favorite brand”.
Our second serving is the song “Mashed Potatoes” by Nat Kendricks and The Swans: This is an old R&B instrumental that harkens back to 1959. Released as a two-part single in 1960 (like “American Pie” would be years later), the work was actually recorded by James Brown. For legal reasons it was credited to the fictitious “Nat Kendrick and the Swans.”
Don’t forget your “Vegetables” by The Beach Boys: This was written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. It was first released on the group’s 1967 platter Smiley Smile. It would be served up again several times—most recently on the 2004 release Brian Wilson Presents Smile. Whether it was inspired by smoking enough pot to put Wilson into a vegetative state or Wilson’s health kick that inspired the song remains uncertain.
Throw in some pork chops and Peter Brady would approve of the next number–Google if you missed the joke–“Apple Sauce” by Animal Collective: This was a single from the band’s ninth studio album Centipede Hz. It hit the stores in late 2012. This song (and the rest of the recording) marked a return to the group’s experimental roots.
Sure, you might not think of chicken when it comes to Thanksgiving but Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken” is no mere ordinary poultry. It’s the tasty titular track from their third studio LP released in 1973. This is generally considered their signature song and includes two newer bandmates: guitarist Paul Barrere and percussionist Sam Clayton.
While your crusty chronicler’s parents may have made their kid eat whatever they decide was for dinner, a younger generation of parents is spoiling their kids by giving them choices. “Don’t want turkey? How about a ‘Hot Dog’?” How about a “Hot Dog” from Led Zeppelin?
This American-referenced rockabilly track is from the band’s 1979 LP In Through the Out Door. Here Robert Plant sings of U-Haul and the aforementioned hot dogs. He also employs a reverb-dipped drawl as a tuneful tip of the hat to the famous Sun Studios.
“Red Red Wine”
How about some “Red Red Wine” by Neil Diamond? This song hails back to his 1968 album Just for You. No doubt you might be more familiar with UB40’s cover that ands a reggae riff to Diamond’s admittedly morose folk ballad but for this musical meal let’s stick with the original.
For dessert you can serve up a little “Cherry Pie” by Warrant. This slice of nice is the title track from their 1990 release Cherry Pie. Take an attitude if you mist, but it was a major hit and the humorous video had more staying power than holiday heartburn and garnered the award for the sexiest music video of 1990.
After dinner, how about something sweet like a “Savoy Truffle”? This is a George Harrison song off The Beatles’ self-titled The Beatles also known as “The White Album”. It goes back to 1968 and was actually inspired by Harrison’s famous friend Eric Clapton’s addiction to candy. It features fuzzed-out horns and Harrison’s distorted Fender Rhodes.
“One More Cup of Coffee”
Of course before the celebration breaks up everyone has to have “One More Cup of Coffee”. This is a Bob Dylan cut from his 1976 platter Desire. As someone once said: “There’s always room for (Bob) Dylan”. Yeah, just like pumpkin pie; huh? Check out the extra added ingredient of Emmylou Harris’ harmonious vocal work here. The song says it all: “One more cup of coffee for the road / One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.”