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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Thanksgiving-themed songs to play during the holiday

Photo by Claire Gallagher
Ben Rector, a pop musician known for his hit song “Brand New,” released a new track in late October called “The Thanksgiving Song.”

Ben Rector, a pop musician known for his hit song “Brand New,” released a new track in late October called “The Thanksgiving Song.”

Rector said he wrote this because it puzzled him that there is a whole genre of music dedicated to Christmas, but not a genre that really revolves around Thanksgiving. In lieu of this song, there are other songs to take a look at that could be played during the upcoming holiday.

The Thanksgiving Song

Recently written by Ben Rector, this song has a piano playing throughout it, starting out with playing the melody. The tone of the song is relaxing and, along with the lyrics, can invoke a sort of nostalgia. Rector draws on what seems like his own personal experience with lyrics like “Starting to see my grandfather in my nephew’s eyes / Mom still can’t talk about him and not almost cry.” He discusses how life may change, but he always goes back to his family for Thanksgiving and they continue with their traditions. His chorus discusses his gratitude for the day, especially after this year, saying “’Cause we made it through, I do believe, the longest year in history / Thank God that it’s Thanksgiving Day.” This is a good song to throw on the aux when driving home for break.

Turkey Chase

“Turkey Chase” is a song written by Bob Dylan, and unlike the other songs on this list, is instrumental. It was released in 1973 on his album “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.” The song itself has country vibes and the melody is moving quickly. The instruments, a combination of banjo, guitar and violin, keep the pace fast, perfect for some background music while cooking to emphasize the hectic vibe that could be occurring in the kitchen, or it could be good background music while studying for finals to get you into a groove. Just based on the name alone, it is perfect for the playlist.

We Are Family

“We Are Family” is a song released by the American vocal group Sister Sledge in 1979. The song has a catchy tune and quicker beat, making it a good song to play while dancing around the kitchen while cooking on Thanksgiving Day or even add to your winter break workout playlist. Though not traditionally a Thanksgiving song, the theme of family, related by blood or not, is prominent in the lyrics. Some of the lyrics are “We are family / I got all my sisters with me / We are family / Get up everybody and sing.” The song has an emphasis on unity, which is a theme that can be seen around Thanksgiving.


“Home” is a song by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, an indie/country folk band, that was released in 2010. The song has a catchy beat and tune, almost with a bit of a twang, especially in the singers’ voices. The opening of the song has the singers whistling the melody. Some of the lyrics invoke a stereotypical idea of the food on Thanksgiving such as “Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie.” The song emphasizes how a person can be a home, not just family. With one of the themes of Thanksgiving including the idea of home, this could be a good song to add the warm feeling of being with those you love, even if it is through a video or phone call. It is also a good song to listen to while on a brisk morning walk with the sun shining.

All Gravy

“All Gravy” is a song off of the extended play (EP) “A Very Special Friendsgiving” by John Paul Jones and the Honey Baked Jam Band. John Paul Jones is known for his appearance on “The Bachelorette” as well as “Bachelor in Paradise.” He partnered with Honey Baked Ham Company, a food retailer of honey baked ham, turkey, side dishes, and desserts. The partnership occurred last year in anticipation of Thanksgiving with hopes of providing the occasion with perfectly themed music. The song “All Gravy” is about Jones being randomly sat next to someone he is attracted to at a Thanksgiving meal, more specifically, a Friendsgiving, which is a time when friends get together during the thanksgiving season to share a meal. With lyrics like “The host sat me right next to your plate and this was beginning to feel like fate,” it emphasizes how Thanksgiving brings people together. Jones also compares the dreamy eyes of the one he’s serenading to the creamy mashed potatoes on the table. He likes being with this person, saying “it’s all gravy when you’re with me.” The song is catchy and has an easygoing tone, making it perfect for some Thanksgiving background music.

When approaching the holiday season, it’s usually Christmas and Christmas music that receive all of the attention. However,this list is perfect for Thanksgiving and its theme of feeling home and thankful . Though there are other songs that could be put on the list to emphasize the theme of feeling at home during, these are just a few songs to invoke those feelings and themes.

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at [email protected].

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