The Thanksgiving Day Playlist

All About Alice's Restaurant

Alice’s Restaurant and a Playlist for Thanksgiving Day

A thought-driven playlist humming in the background of a party describes many a celebration.  Why then are Thanksgiving Day celebrations typically devoid of music?  Could it be that the NFL football game blaring on the television and surround-sound speakers takes over?  Would the problem stem from conversations of the day taking precedence over the pipAlice's RestaurantCredit: Wikipediaed in tunes?  Whatever the reason for the lack of musical traditions, consider adding a few tunes to the Thanksgiving Day festivities. Think in terms of a few easy listening varieties of tunes such as Jimmy Buffett’s Thanksgiving or Adam Sandler’s The Thanksgiving Song.  If you want a song to spur conversation, download and put on Alice’s Restaurant by Aldo Guthrie.  After all, playing that tune is already a Thanksgiving Tradition on the radio stations. 

About the Song, Alice’s Restaurant

Calling Alice’s Restaurant a song is a bit of a misnomer. The eighteen minute plus ‘song’ is actually a spoken monologue with a  tune in the background.  The piece emerged in 1967 and tells the story of a true event from Guthrie’s life in 1965. The storyline actually has little to do with Thanksgiving except for the event taking place on the holiday.  The lyrics relay the story of a couple of 18 year olds and their antics on Thanksgiving Day.  They want to help out their friend, Alice, by disposing of some trash from her restaurant.  They try to do the ‘right thing’ and go to the dump as a disposal site.  The dump is not open due to the holiday.  Upon noticing trash at the bottom of a cliff, they follow suit so disposing of their load.  The day concludes with them going back to Alice’s for a Thanksgiving Day feast.  The adventure ends like a typical Thanksgiving Day.  Everyone is full, content, and heads off the bed for the day.  The story does not stop there, however.  The trash haulers are later arrested for the crime.  What does that all mean?

The Deeper Meaning of Alice’s Restaurant

The song is actually meant as a protest against the Vietnam draft evidently.  A person convicted of a crime avoided the draft.  Listeners apparently were to sing along, avoid the draft, and protest the war.  The real live Alice in the song references Alice Brock.  She and her husband purchased an old church in Massachusetts and took up residence there.  That place and not a restaurant was the setting for the real-life incident. 

Alice’s Restaurant on Thanksgiving Day Radio

Interestingly enough it seems Alice’s Restaurant is only heard on the radio  on Thanksgiving Day.  Sirius Satellite Radio sent out programming messages to its subscribers.  On the agenda for the holiday was Alice’s Restaurant being played throughout the day along with the NFL games, Martha Stewart’s last minute tips, and Jimmy Buffett’s Thanksgiving?   Alice’s Restaurant has a 30th and 40th year edition now available. A movie of the same title emerged in 1969.

Alice’s Restaurant and Beyond as Thanksgiving Day Traditions

One might want to add a few tunes to the Thanksgiving Day plans.  Consider adding new traditions as well to liven up the season.  The Christmas holiday shopping season officially starts the day after Thanksgiving Day. Consider starting a new tradition with the family.   Watch a classic Christmas movie at the end of the day, and launch the next season.  A few suggestions are; Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, Home Alone for the Holidays, A Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life. As an interesting spin, listen to Alice’s Restaurant as a great conversation starter for the Thanksgiving Day traditions list.