The Ultimate Thanksgiving Playlist

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Playlist

Before (or after) all of that food, you’ll need a soundtrack to get yourself moving. So we put together a list of songs to cut a turkey (or rug) to.

A Thanksgiving playlist needs to be like the Thanksgiving spread: there needs to be something for everyone, from your too-cool-for-school cousin to that great aunt that brought her dancing shoes.

You can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and cranberries, right? Likewise, a Thanksgiving Playlist needs to lean on the classics. That’s why ours starts with Aretha Franklin’s foot-stomping cover of “The Weight” (with a young Duane Allman on guitar).


  1. The Weight by Aretha Franklin
  2. Good to Be Back Home by Charles Bradley
  3. I’m Easy by Boz Scaggs
  4. Sweet Baby (featuring Erykah Badu) by Macy Gray, Erykah Badu
  5. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey) by The Feelies
  6. You Can Make It If You Try by Sly & The Family Stone
  7. I’m a Fool for You by James Carr
  8. 96 Tears ? & The Mysterians
  9. Looking For The Magic by Dwight Twilley Band
  10. Cissy Strut by The Meters
  11. How Long Do I Have To Wait For You? by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
  12. No Ordinary Love – Remastered by Sade
  13. Congratulations Baby by Barbara West
  14. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) by The Band
  15. Lovely Day by Bill Withers
  16. Kingdom Come by Raury
  17. Rent I Pay by Spoon
  18. Everything Was Changing by EZTV
  19. Stay Hungry by Talking Heads
  20. Borrowed World by Widowspeak
  21. Making Breakfast by Twin Peaks
  22. I’m Glad by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
  23. Amoreena by Elton John
  24. Memo To My Son – Remastered by Randy Newman
  25. In My Time (Album Version) by Kurt Vile
  26. The General Specific by Band of Horses
  27. Dearest by Buddy Holly

Thanksgiving without pie? Impossible. The musical version is the sweet Randy Newman nugget “Memo to My Son,” a deep cut about a messy baby (many Thanksgiving tables have one of those).

(I thought about putting Newman’s bright and cheery “I Love L.A.” on the playlist, but it isn’t exactly what I want to hear while wrapped in a cable-knit sweater and eating sweet potato casserole.)

Turkey making you fall asleep? Wake up with that pistol-like snare drum on Spoon’s “Rent I Pay.” (The volume and the clattering makes this very good material for washing dishes, too.)

Finish the night off with a tender Buddy Holly tune, the perfect song for sitting with any lingering guests, sipping some Wild Turkey, and reflecting on the night that just was.



by 10.10.16

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More in Lists