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60 Best Songs To Add to Your Thanksgiving Playlist

60 Best Songs To Add to Your Thanksgiving Playlist

Top songs about Thanksgiving, gratitude, thankfulness and Turkey Day foods.

Adam Sandler once famously pontificated on the lack of Thanksgiving songs, but it turns out, there are actually plenty—it just depends on exactly how literal you want to get when you make your Turkey Day playlist. Sandler was correct in that there are few tunes explicitly about the annual November celebration of gratitude. There are even fewer about the plight of the pilgrims and the havoc they wreaked on the Wampanoag. However, there's a cornucopia of Thanksgiving songs celebrating the overarching themes of the holiday as we know it today: Appreciation, love, family and, of course, food.

From Ray Davies' heart-wrenching "Thanksgiving Day" to the fun, carb-fueled "Do the Mashed Potato" by James Brown, the best Thanksgiving songs evoke the emotions around the holiday, which for many run the gamut from excitement, joy and hunger to heartache, loneliness and longing for days gone by. Not in the mood to sing along to anything? Have no fear, because we have some great instrumental options for you as well.

These Thanksgiving songs, including tunes spanning virtually all genres (including kids' songs!), will get you into the grateful spirit. Rock this playlist while cooking and gobbling down your turkey, stuffing and pie. To quote our No. 2 Thanksgiving tune, you're welcome!

60 Thanksgiving Songs

1. Ray Davies, "Thanksgiving Day"

This bittersweet tune looks at Thanksgiving Day through the eyes of several individuals, giving humanity to many alone and forgotten during the holidays, as well as evoking nostalgia for Turkey Days gone by.

2. Dwayne Johnson, "You're Welcome"

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's catchy tune from Moana is a kid-friendly ode to gratitude.

3. Bob Marley and the Wailers, "Give Thanks and Praises"

There is no better day for this, and it'll help you chill out if you're stressed about cooking.

4. Alanis Morissette, "Thank U"

Alanis Morissette reminds us to stop and say "thank you" (or "thank u") for everything that got us to where we are right now in this moment.

Related: 30+ Thanksgiving Movies for Kids That the Whole Family Will Enjoy on Turkey Day

5. The Beatles, "Thank You Girl"

Because all our girls should be thanked, especially you.

6. Sly and the Family Stone, "Thankful n' Thoughtful"

Embrace some funk this Thanksgiving.

7. Kelly Clarkson, "Thankful"

Let's be real: Everyone on the planet is thankful for Kelly Clarkson.

8. James Brown, "Do the Mashed Potato"

Because carbs.

9. Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Thanksgiving Theme"

There are few things more festive and beloved than Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts tunes.

10. Josh Groban, "Thankful"

Josh Groban is a Christmas staple, but don't ignore his great Thanksgiving ballad from his Noel holiday album.

11. Mariah Carey feat. Joe and 98 Degrees, "Thank God I Found You"

The Queen of Christmas reminds us to be thankful.

12. Dido, "Thank You"

While largely recognizable for its sample in Eminem's smash "Stan," this is a beautiful song on its own.

Related: Thanksgiving Jokes

13. Otis Redding, "I Want to Thank You"

We want to thank Otis Redding for this sweet, festive bop.

14. James Taylor, "How Sweet It Is"

The "stop and thank you, baby" refrain is as sweet as it gets.

15. The Shins, "Young Pilgrims"

If you're feeling a little introspective or melancholy this Thanksgiving, this song is for you.

Related: 50 Thanksgiving Activities

16. Natalie Merchant, "Kind and Generous"

Play this for the host of your Thanksgiving feast.

17. My Morning Jacket, "Thank You Too!"

It's a little ironic that such a sweet song is on an album titled Evil Urges.

Related: Best Thanksgiving Games

18. HELLYEAH, "Thank You"

For the family that's a little metal.

19. Sly and the Family Stone, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"

If you're lucky enough to celebrate with a crew that embraces you when you let your freak flag fly, this is the soundtrack for your Thanksgiving.

20. Bon Jovi, "Thank You for Loving Me"

This power ballad is a great one to play not just for spouses or partners, but also family members who've seen you through tough times.

21. Edwin McCain, "I Could Not Ask for More"

A reminder to be most thankful for the love you have for each other. (Also a reminder of oh-so-many first dances from seemingly every wedding in the early 2000s.)

22. Mary Chapin Carpenter, "The Thanksgiving Song"

This country classic is a reminder that Thanksgiving is about being grateful for family and the ones we love.

23. Led Zeppelin, "Thank You"

A rock classic that is a perfect fit for the season.

24. Loudon Wainwright III, "Thanksgiving"

This is a poignant look at a family's Thanksgiving celebration that's particularly relatable: "Remind us that we are all grown up / Adults, no longer children / Now it's our kids that spill the milk / And our turn to want to kill them."

25. Nicole Westbrook, "Thanksgiving"

Think Rebecca Black's "Friday," but with mashed potatoes.

Related: Thanksgiving Quotes

26. The Carpenters, "[There's No Place Like] Home for the Holidays"

For the busiest travel time of the year.

27. Beastie Boys, "Gratitude"

The original rap rockers reveal the importance of being thankful for what you have.

28. Phillip Phillips, "Home"

The American Idol alum's hit is a great soundtrack for returning to your roots, especially if you're bringing a guest.

30. Megan Sikora, Mayumi Miguel and Cameron Adams, "It's Turkey Lurkey Time"

This song from the musical Promises, Promises is a fun option for kids.

Related: 51 Thanksgiving Table Ideas

31. Big Star, "Thank You Friends"

The perfect song for a Friendsgiving gathering.

32. Rita Ora, "Grateful"

We're grateful for power ballads.

33. Andrew Gold, "Thank You For Being a Friend"

This song may sound very familiar—it was adapted for The Golden Girls' theme song!

34. Carrie Underwood, "Thank God for Hometowns"

Carrie Underwood reminds us all that we can, in fact, go home again ... and that it feels good.

35. The Radio Dept., "A Token of Gratitude"

The short indie tune is literal.

36. Jay and the Techniques, "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie"

What a sweet song.

37. Lucinda Williams, "Stowaway in Your Heart"

Being thankful for love is as pure as gratitude gets.

38. Neil Young, "Harvest Moon"

Neil Young sets the scene for a Thanksgiving with someone you love.

39. Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, "Thanks a Million"

This instrumental jazz number is a great backdrop for dinner conversation.

40. Sam & Dave, "I Thank You"

This heartfelt classic has been covered by the likes of ZZ Top, Bonnie Raitt and Tom Jones; in 2017, the original was featured in the tear-jerking family film A Dog's Purpose.

Related: Stores Open Thanksgiving

41. Bing Crosby, "I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For"

Sure, Bing Crosby's Christmas songs are canon, but this Thanksgiving-themed tune is a classic, too.

42. The Regrettes, "Pumpkin"

Everyone's favorite fall flavor is used as a pet name in this cute rock love song.

43. Ariana Grande, "thank u, next"

An unconventional choice, but aren't we all grateful for our crappy exes for not wasting any more of our time?

44. Johnny Cash, "Thanksgiving Prayer"

The Man in Black gets spiritual.

45. Katy Perry, "Smile"

Katy Perry is thankful and grateful for her inner joy in this title track from her most recent album.

46. Little Eva, "Let's Turkey Trot"

Whether or not you're participating in an actual turkey trot this year, this is still a fun song.

47. Ray Charles, "Sweet Potato Pie"

Ray Charles' ode to one of the best parts of a Thanksgiving feast is a classic.

48. Céline Dion, "Thankful"

We're thankful for Céline Dion's powerhouse pipes.

49. Green Day, "Macy's Day Parade"

Green Day lament about consumerism in this track from 2000's Warning.

50. Shania Twain, "Thank You Baby! (For Makin' Someday Come So Soon)"

Play this Shania Twain tune for the partner who finally got you to stop swiping.

51. Bette Midler, "Wind Beneath My Wings"

Sure, it's a bit cheesy and trite, but Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" is a lovely way to thank those very special people who serve as your support system.

52. Nat King Cole, "Autumn Leaves"

Nat King Cole has a voice as beautiful as the finest foliage.

53. The Kinks, "Autumn Almanac"

Yellow leaves and coming home are key to The Kinks' "Autumn Almanac."

54. CoComelon, "Thank You Song"

CoComelon's "Thank You Song" is a good option for kids that you won't get tired of... at least not right away.

55. Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World"

Though it may not seem like the world is too wonderful all of the time (here's looking at you, 2020 and 2021!), Louis Armstrong will remind you to be thankful for the good moments.

56. Ohio Players, "Jive Turkey"

All you jive turkeys, clap your hands!

57. Dee Dee Sharp, "It's Mashed Potato Time"

Carbs are one of the best things about the holiday, and it's about time they got the respect they deserved.

58. Billie Holiday, "Autumn in New York"

There are few places more beautiful than the Big Apple in the fall.

59. Bob Dylan, "Turkey Chase"

This instrumental Bob Dylan tune provides a glorious soundtrack while cooking.

60. Adam Sandler, "The Thanksgiving Song"

Because obviously.

Next, impress your guests with these Thanksgiving trivia questions and answers.

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