As autumn arrives, so does a cherished holiday: Thanksgiving. Started as a way to celebrate the plentiful fall harvest with friends and family, Thanksgiving is now a mainstay in many North American homes and households around the globe! The holiday involves copious amounts of food—traditionally a turkey, bread-based stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn—and time spent with friends and family. Usually, while sitting around the table with food, family, and friends, individuals say what they are thankful for having in their lives.
Here we list eight songs in the spirit of Thanksgiving, songs that give thanks to the important people and moments in our lives. Things that make us grateful and inspire us to be great to those around us.
Daft Punk’s “Teachers” for Mentors
This song off Daft Punk’s first album Homework is like a music version of going around the table at Thanksgiving and saying who you’re thankful for. The lyrics of the song are exclusively musicians whom Daft Punk considers to be their “teachers.” The list includes other house and techno artists like Boo Williams and DJ Funk, but also artists in other genres like Brian Wilson (from the Beach Boys) and Dr. Dre. This track reminds us that no matter what are current life pathway is, there’s been a large and diverse array of people who have had an impact on our lives and made us the people we are today.
Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” for Giving Robust Thanks
The infectious dance hit from Fatboy Slim’s 1999 album You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby has only one verse repeated over and over again for four minutes: “We’ve come a long, long way together / Through the hard times and the good / I have to celebrate you baby / I have to praise you like I should.” It’s hard to tell the specifics of who is being praised—a friend, a lover, a family member—and why, but one thing is for certain: they are being praised vigorously.
The big beat hit reminds us that those in your life who deserve your thanks can never hear it enough. When Thanksgiving rolls around, be sure to praise those you love and who support you, because you really can never say it enough: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” for People and Things that Affirm You
Despite the unique spelling, it’s safe to say the phrase uttered during the chorus of this hit Sly & The Family Stone song is, in reality, “Thank you for letting me be myself, again.” The song describes a person struggling with not fitting into certain aspects of their everyday life but how having the space to dance and sing can releases the tension of living in a society that’s against their own grain.
This Thanksgiving, we should not only be thankful for the people in our lives that love and support us for who we are, but also the activities we do that make us feel like ourselves, like singing, drawing, hiking, or playing music.
Dido’s “Thank You” for Kind Strangers
Dido’s “Thank You” blew up in late 2000 on its own and as part of a sample in Eminem’s “Stan.” While “Stan” is a dark song about obsession and isolation, Dido’s “Thank You” is much more inspirational. If you’ve ever suffered from depression or just a depressive slump, it can feel like a never-ending gloom. But sometimes it can just take a smile from a stranger or a call from a friend to help bring you out of it and get you through the day.
“Thank You” is a tribute to the small things in one’s life that can turn a day from gray to great. It reminds us to appreciate those little gestures we receive and give, as they can have profound effects in the lives of those around us.
Meghan Trainor’s “Thank You (feat. Rock City)” for Your Supporters
The title track from Meghan Trainor’s second studio album is one giant thank you. Trainor’s verses and chorus allude to the appreciation she has for her fans, while Rock City thanks his significant other in his guest rap sections on the track.
The song shows us how complete strangers can be as influential in our lives as intimate partners. Trainor owes all her success to her fans. They show her their love and loyalty by buying and sharing her work, but Trainor also thanks them for keeping her focused on making good music worthy of their entertainment. Rock City’s raps about his lover similarly, talking about how they are a source of support and motivation for him.
Praising our support people—our partners, friends, or just the people that help us accomplish our everyday tasks—is never a bad thing. Make sure to thank those who sustain you this Thanksgiving!
Bob Marley’s “One Love” for Loves’ Unity
In addition to creating some beautiful music and bringing reggae onto the world stage, Bob Marley was a particularly spiritual man. Many of his songs talk about his giving thanks to God, or Jah, like in the song “Give Thanks and Praises.” Likewise, his popular song “Three Little Birds” includes an air of thankfulness for the small aspects of beauty in our everyday life.
One of his most famous tracks—“One Love”—includes the refrain “Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel alright / Let’s get together and feel alright.” This should be on everyone’s Thanksgiving Day playlist as we should all aspire to come together and feel alright while eating and enjoying each other’s company.
In “One Love,” Marley uses pleasurable reggae beats to convey the joy of harmonious togetherness. Even if you’re not religious, it’s hard not to be thankful for the beauty of the natural world and the wonder of what the human race can accomplish when working together.
Boyz II Men’s “Thank You” for Mentors/Parents
From their 1994 album II, Boyz II Men’s “Thank You”—an acapella R&B hit—tells the story of giving thanks for a supportive person who was present throughout the singers’ growth (from “boyz” to men). The person deserving of thanks could be God, a parent, a teacher, or a friend, but what’s certain is that the love and encouragement was essential to the narrators’ success.
Has there been someone present throughout your life who helped you every step of the way? Make sure to thank them this Thanksgiving. It’s never too late to say “Thank you.”
Alyssa Bonagura’s “Thank You For Being A Friend (Andrew Gold Cover)” for Friends
You have probably heard this song, but do you know from where? It’s the Golden Girls theme song!
Originally written by Andrew Gold in the late 1970s, the song was picked to play during the opening credits of the cult classic television show starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty. The lyrics embody the spirit of a cherished friendship: doing whatever’s necessary day or night, traveling long distances, sharing treasured secrets, a true friend for life.
This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to thank your friends, especially those who are there in both your hardest moments and as a partner-in-crime during the fun times!
This Thanksgiving, no matter what your celebration entails, make sure to give thanks to the people or things that help sustain you in your life. We hope these songs have given you an idea of who those people are—parents, siblings, lovers, friends, and strangers who gave you a helping hand—or what those things may be—singing, dancing, or eating a delicious Thanksgiving meal!
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