The Top 10 Songs for Thanksgiving Celebrations
When it comes to holiday songs, Thanksgiving is often overshadowed by Christmas. That’s a shame since so many great songs—from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Thanksgiving Song” to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”—perfectly capture the spirit of the season.
Mary Chapin Carpenter – “Thanksgiving Song” (2008)
In 2008, country-folk artist Mary Chapin Carpenter released her first holiday album, “Come Darkness, Come Light.” Though billed as a Christmas album, it also includes a number called “Thanksgiving Song.” The album received strong reviews and broke into the top 10 on the holiday album chart.
Natalie Merchant – “Kind and Generous” (1998)
The words of Natalie Merchant’s “Kind and Generous” demonstrate an attitude of thankfulness for everything a special person has given of themselves. The song was the first single from the artist’s second album, “Ophelia.” It reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went all the way to #3 on the adult pop radio chart.
Adam Sandler – “The Thanksgiving Song” (1993)
After enjoying success as a cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” comedian Adam Sandler released the album “They’re All Gonna Laugh at You.” It included his first holiday classic, “The Thanksgiving Song,” which was first performed as part of the “Saturday Night Live” parody news segment Weekend Update. In the same pattern as his later “Chanukkah Song,” this holiday classic riffs on a wide variety of pop culture topics, from Betty Grable to Sammy Davis, Jr. “The Thanksgiving Song” reached #40 on the adult pop radio chart in 1997.
Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World” (1968)
“What a Wonderful World” was originally written in the 1960s as a soothing counterpart to the racial and political strife of the era. It works equally well today as a celebration of our world and a step toward giving thanks. Jazz legend Louis Armstrong recorded the song in 1967. After it was included on the soundtrack for the hit film “Good Morning, Vietnam” in 1988, the song climbed into the pop top 40.
In recent decades, “What a Wonderful World” has been recognized as a contemporary pop standard. It has sold more than two million digital copies, and a wide range of artists have covered the song, including Rod Stewart and Ziggy Marley.
Dido – “Thank You” (2000)
British singer-songwriter Dido Armstrong records under the mononym Dido. “Thank You” was a single from her debut album “No Angel.” It is probably best known for being sampled in Eminem’s song “Stan.” However, on its own, the song reached #3 on the U.S. pop chart, becoming Dido’s breakthrough hit. The touching lyrics were written as a tribute to Dido’s then-boyfriend Bob Page.
Natalie Cole – “Be Thankful” (1977)
Singer Natalie Cole released her hit album “Thankful” in 1977. It included the top 10 pop hit single “Our Love” as well as the upbeat “Be Thankful,” which encourages everyone to be thankful for what they have.
ABBA – “Thank You for the Music” (1978)
“Thank You for the Music” was first included on “ABBA: The Album” in 1977. Although it was not a major pop hit at the time, the song has since become a favorite among ABBA fans. “Thank You for the Music” has been covered by a wide range of artists, including The Carpenters.
Sister Sledge – “We Are Family” (1979)
“We Are Family” was the first song written by disco legends Nile Rodgers and Bernie Edwards for an act other than their own group Chic. “We Are Family” was offered to the sister group Sister Sledge as an experiment. The result was a massive smash hit, reaching #2 on the pop chart and becoming a disco classic. The song’s celebration of the value of family is perfect for family gatherings at Thanksgiving.
Cheryl Pepsii Riley – “Thanks for My Child” (1988)
Gospel and R&B singer Cheryl Pepsii Riley broke into the mainstream pop charts with her debut single “Thanks for My Child.” The song describes love and thankfulness for the children in our lives. It went all the way to #1 on the R&B chart and broke into the pop top 40.
Kelly Clarkson – “Thankful” (2003)
In 2002 Kelly Clarkson became the winner of the first season of the legendary singing competition show “American Idol.” In April 2003 she released her debut album “Thankful.” The title song has a strong R&B feel and celebrates special people in one’s life. The album “Thankful” hit #1 on the U.S. album chart and has sold more than 2.5 million copies.