'Alice's Restaurant': It's a Thanksgiving music tradition


Category:  Entertainment

Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  9 months ago  •  14 comments

By:   Robin Shreeves

'Alice's Restaurant': It's a Thanksgiving music tradition

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

'Alice's Restaurant': It's a Thanksgiving music tradition


Arlo Guthrie's famous album is a Thanksgiving Day tradition. (Photo:  Wikimedia Commons )

Thanksgiving is full of traditions. With a few exceptions, the food on my Thanksgiving table looks almost exactly like the food that was on my parent's Thanksgiving table year after year. It's tradition. When my son was 3 years old, he made paper pilgrims and Native Americans in the shape of paper drumsticks at school. I proudly taped them onto the china cabinet. The next year, he found them and taped them back up. Voila — tradition.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is the music I listen to when I cook.

There are two CDs that I listen to while preparing food on the night before Thanksgiving. The first is George Winston's "Autumn." The second, and go ahead and chuckle, is the soundtrack to "When Harry Met Sally." At some point, it became tradition for my mom and me to listen to it while doing prep work.

The greatest musical tradition comes on Thanksgiving Day around noon. That's when I and millions of other Americans tune into local radio stations to hear Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" — all 18-plus minutes of it.

Why is this rambling song a Thanksgiving tradition? Well, as we learn in the beginning of the song, "it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on — two years ago on Thanksgiving." From there the fun really begins.

If you've never listened to this song on Thanksgiving, I suggest you give it a try. You'll probably end up making it one of your Thanksgiving traditions, too.

Here's just a sampling of some of the radio stations around the country that will be playing it.

Albany, New York     WAMC (1400 AM and 90.3 FM)   will air it at noon, followed by an interview with Arlo Guthrie, who discusses the movie and the song before a live audience.

Minneapolis/St. Pau l —   92 KQRS (92.5 FM)   will play "Alice's Restaurant" on Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. as part of the station's annual tradition.

Chicago     WDRV 97.1 FM   The Drive will play the song at 6 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.  

Santa Barbara, California   — As part of a long-standing tradition,   KTYD (99.9 FM)   will play "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" in its entirety at noon and at 6 p.m. At 3 p.m., they'll play the "Revisited" 2009 version.

For a more extensive list of where you can find it,   Radio Survivor   has an impressive roundup that includes traditional and online stations.

And hey, if you're still looking for a stuffing recipe at this late date, you can find one from Alice herself (the song is based on a true story). It's taken from " Alice's Restaurant Cookbook ."

Whether your holiday involves listening to this classic or not, I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in November 2009 and has been updated with new information.


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Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    9 months ago

Has anyone on NT ever done that?

Has anyone on NT ever been to Alice's Restaurant?

Has anyone else ever actually met and carried on a conversation with Arlo Guthrie?

Vic Eldred
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    9 months ago

I'm not a Guthrie fan either, but I like the idea of the family traditions that go with Thanksgiving. Each is a little different, but they are all unifying around the Holiday which President Lincoln proclaimed as an official holiday On October 3, 1863, (thanful for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg).

For immigrants it is/should be a point of assimilation. Some may have burritos with the Turkey dinner while others have Lasagna with it. That's the best of Thanksgiving. It unites rather than divides.

Buzz of the Orient
1.2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    9 months ago
"It unites rather than divides."

An excellent point - these days America is in much need of uniting rather than dividing.

October 3?  Was a reason given to change it to now?  Would it have been to coincide with the usual time of harvest, as Canada has done due to colder weather?

1.2.2  Jasper2529  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2.1    9 months ago
October 3?  Was a reason given to change it to now?  Would it have been to coincide with the usual time of harvest, as Canada has done due to colder weather?

I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Here's an interesting history ...




Vic Eldred
1.2.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2.1    9 months ago

Lincoln announced it as a holiday on that date - to be celebrated on Nov 26th.

Buzz of the Orient
1.2.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jasper2529 @1.2.2    9 months ago

Thanks for providing the links to what I found to be interesting history, and an explanation that although the proclamation was dated November 3rd, Lincoln called for the holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

1.2.5  Enoch  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    9 months ago

Dear Friend Vic Elder: Great point!




Vic Eldred
1.2.6  Vic Eldred  replied to  Enoch @1.2.5    8 months ago

My Friend Enoch, it is my favorite holiday. I hope yours was a good one.


From humble origins it became the day for family, friends and nation.

1.2.7  katrix  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    8 months ago
It unites rather than divides.

It does indeed. I invited two of my mom's aides - one originally from Nigeria, and one from Iran via Australia - to join us for dinner. One brought mom a big bag of Godiva chocolate ganache candies... the other brought my mom some warm socks wrapped in Christmas paper. And I gave them each an Advent calendar a week ago - that's a new tradition for both of them.

Neither of them has a clue about football so we taught them a little. Mom has dementia and couldn't tell you who just scored, but she still remembers all the rules!

1.3  katrix  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    8 months ago

I used to always find a station that was playing Alice's Restaurant at noon. I need to do that again next year.

1.3.1  JBB  replied to  katrix @1.3    8 months ago

No need to look for it on the radio. It is available on YouTube or music apps 24-7-365...

2  JohnRussell    9 months ago

Nice that people are finding traditions . I'm not particularly an Arlo Guthrie fan, so as they say on Shark Tank, "I'm out". 

3  Krishna    9 months ago

I listened to the song a lot after it came out. (But for some reason never had listening to it as a Thanksgiving tradition).

I related to it as an anti-war song. 

Split Personality
4  Split Personality    8 months ago

I have an old 4 channel album ( yes a 33rpm vinyl ) recording of "pass in review" a recording of the UN parade from 1961 that I tortured my family and neighbors with every 4th of July.  No one dared protest a patriotic parade, lol.

Ditto, Alice's restaurant, every Thanksgiving ( not loud enough for the neighbors to hear ).  Every young man  who was ever traffic stopped in the 60's or 70's because they had long hair or were nearing the draft should relate to the tale.  I do.


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