Thanksgiving playlist: Top 20 songs of gratitude

Nothing says muchas gracias like a song. For Turkey Day, we count down our 20 favorite thank-you tunes, plus, hear them with our Spotify Thanksgiving playlist.

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16. "I Thank You" by Sam & Dave

R&B outfit Sam and Dave brings soul-clap goodness to its 1968 classic "I Thank You," later memorably covered by ZZ Top. Although the track chronicles a lover's smothering affection—which many of us might feel fenced in by—Sam and Dave don't seem to mind one bit. Rather, they just show a great deal of appreciation right back. After all, what kind of love is greater than one that gives, as Sam and Dave put it, "kisses so good that I have to holler for help"? We rest our case.

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17. "Thank You" by Descendents

These California pop-punk champs have written a ton of great love songs, but few hit us as hard as this one. The subject isn't a girl, as in so many other Descendents tunes, but a band: "Thank you for playing the way you play," sings frontman Milo Aukerman, expressing a sentiment penned by bassist Karl Alvarez. In a stroke of modest genius, Alvarez never reveals the identity of his musical crush, instead letting the listener fill in the blank.—Hank Shteamer

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18. "Grateful" by John Bucchino

One of cabaret's precious gems, John Bucchino pulls the heartstrings just right with this slow ballad. Combining an expression of gratitude for a life well spent with a lyrical piano melody, he proves here that he can melt even the coldest of hearts. Keep this sentiment in mind, even as you're locked into "Pass the gravy" mode.

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19. "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" by Vince Guaraldi Trio

"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” was a shoo-in here, both for the kids' enjoyment and for your own sappy nostalgia, too. Originally penned for the 1973 Peanuts special of the same name, this cheery instrumental by jazz musician Vince Guaraldi hits just the right penultimate note on our Thanksgiving extravaganza.

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20. "Thank You Friends" by Big Star

With Big Star having suffered the enormous loss of enigmatic frontman Alex Chilton only two years ago, an expression of friendly support for the songsmith's family, friends, bandmates and fans still feels essential. In remembrance, we present you with the Memphis rocker's 1978 track "Thank You Friends," a gospel-infused tune that speaks of the gratitude Chilton felt for his own near-and-dears. "I said, 'Thank you again.' I wanna thank you again. Never too late to start," Chilton sings as the tune inevitably draws to a close, his quiet brilliance wafting over anyone who's willing to listen. Right back at you, Alex!

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1 comments
Bob Mac
Bob Mac

OK list, but how could you omit the only song written for Thanksgiving, Bing Crosby's "I've Got Plenty To Be Thankful For"? It was written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 film, "Holiday Inn".

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