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"
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"
9. Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Thanksgiving Theme"
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"
12. Dido, "Thank You"
While largely recognizable for its sample in Eminem's smash "Stan," this is a beautiful song on its own.
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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.
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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.
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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"
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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.