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All About That Baste: Recipe for a Thanksgiving Soundtrack

Never mind the meal. What's on the musical menu for Thanksgiving? Billboard has all the ingredients for a satisfying Turkey Day soundtrack.

We trust that, at this point, you’ve planned the details of cooking your Thanksgiving dinner. (Or, perhaps smarter, that you’ve secured reservations at a nearby restaurant.)

But, what about the music to accompany your Thanksgiving Day festivities?

As you celebrate the holiday with loved ones, let Billboard serve your musical soundtrack. Please feel free to fill up a playlist, as you fill up at the table, from a vast menu of Thanksgiving-appropriate charted songs and acts.


From everyone at Billboard, have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!

First, the Sides

“Mashed Potato Time” Dee Dee Sharp
A No. 2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962

“Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)” Dee Dee Sharp
No. 9 Hot 100, 1962

“Mr. Potato Peeler” Bobby Gregg and His Friends
No. 89 Hot 100, 1962

“Mashed Potatoes U.S.A.” James Brown and the Famous Flames
No. 82 Hot 100, 1962

“Gravy Waltz” Steve Allen
No. 64 Hot 100, 1963

“My Sweet Potato” Booker T. & the MG’s
No. 85 Hot 100, 1966

“Hot Potato” LaToya Jackson
No. 38 Dance Club Songs, 1984

And, anything by … the Cranberries

(Honorable, and mostly mouth-watering, mention, to a song that charted only as a cut on Bobby Bare’s album Bare, which reached No. 44 on Top Country Albums in 1978: “Greasy Grit Gravy and Gizzard Greens.” Which, per the lyrics, “make you wanna split your jeans”)

Ah … the Main Course

“Let’s Turkey Trot” Little Eva
No. 20 Hot 100, 1963

“Birdland” Chubby Checker
No. 12 Hot 100, 1963 63

“Surfin’ Bird” the Trashmen (although you may be more familiar with this version)
No. 4 Hot 100, 1964

“This Little Bird” Marianne Faithfull
No. 32 Hot 100, 1965

“May The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” “Little” Jimmy Dickens
No. 15 Hot 100, 1965

“Cold Turkey” Plastic Ono Band
No. 30 Hot 100, 1970

“Jive Turkey (Part 1)” Ohio Players
No. 47 Hot 100, 1974

“Free Bird” Lynyrd Skynryd
No. 19 Hot 100, 1975

“The Bird” the Time
No. 36 Hot 100, 1985

“I’m Like a Bird” Nelly Furtado
No. 9 Hot 100, 2001

And, anything by … the Byrds

Please Be Specific

“Skinny Legs and All” Joe Tex
No. 10 Hot 100, 1967

“Hot Legs” Rod Stewart
No. 28 Hot 100, 1978

“Legs” ZZ Top
No. 8 Hot 100, 1984

“Broken Wings” Mr. Mister
No. 1 Hot 100, 1985

“Pretty Wings” Maxwell
No. 33 Hot 100, 2009

Or, anything by … Wings

And, for Dessert

“Sweet Potato Pie” James Taylor
No. 37 Adult Contemporary, 1989

“Sweet Potato Pie” Domino
No. 13 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, 1994

And, anything by … Smashing Pumpkins

Musical Trimmings

“I Wanna Thank You” Bobby Rydell
No. 21 Hot 100, 1961

“Thank You Girl” the Beatles
No. 35 Hot 100, 1964

“I Thank You” Sam & Dave
No. 9 Hot 100, 1968

“Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin” Sly & the Family Stone
No. 1 Hot 100, 1970

“Be Thankful for What You Got” William DeVaughn
No. 4 Hot 100, 1974

“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” John Denver
No. 1 Hot 100, 1975

“Thank You for Being a Friend” Andrew Gold
No. 25 Hot 100, 1978

Of course …

“The Thanksgiving Song” Adam Sandler
An annual No. 1 on Comedy Digital Songs (which Sandler premiered on NBC’s Saturday Night Live on Nov. 21, 1992)

“Thank U” Alanis Morissette
No. 1 Adult Pop Songs, 1998

“Thank You” Dido
No. 1 Adult Contemporary, Adult Pop Songs, Dance Club Songs, 2001

“I Wanna Thank Ya” Angie Stone
No. 1 Dance Club Songs, 2004

“Thnks fr th Mmrs” Fall Out Boy
No. 11 Hot 100, 2007

“I Want to Say Thank You” Lisa Page Brooks featuring Royal Priesthood
No. 1 Hot Gospel Songs, 2010

And, a still piping-hot newer entry (entree?):

“All About That Baste,” courtesy of the Holderness Family, which knows how to cook up, in addition to a tasty turkey, a catchy parody. (#noskinnybritches)