From "Proud to be an American" to "The Monster Mash," Americans have always found a way to wedge popular music into our favorite holidays. But what of the holiday that predates America itself, Thanksgiving? We don't sing cranberry sauce carols or look forward to hearing a cornucopia of Turkey Day tunes blaring through shopping mall speakers. Yes, there are certainly plenty of songs about thanks in general, but they all overlook the elephant (or poultry) in the room: The turkey. Here are seven songs that at the very least mention the centerpiece of our favorite fall meal.
1. "Turkey in the Straw" The Original Schnickelfritz Band
In looking for turkey-themed songs, the list is short and rarely about actual turkeys. The most well-known turkey-titled song of all time is no exception. In fact, the original lyrics are a meta exercise in writing a song about the song itself. Popularized (unfortunately) by minstrel performers in the 19th century, this folk song sticks around because it's so damn catchy.
2. "Eat Us" from Addams Family Values
This opening number from saccharine camp counselor Gary Granger's original musical "A Turkey Named Brotherhood" is led by Pugsly Addams and sung from the perspective of the entire array Thanksgiving ingredients.
3. "Jive Turkey" Ohio Players
Thanksgiving aside, this funky jam should be in your playlist regardless of what day it is. No, it's not about actual turkeys. It's about jive turkeys. So? (Bonus: Stay tuned for some delightfully 1970s commercials.)
4. "Wild Turkey" Lacy. J. Dalton
Once again, we're stuck with a turkey song that's not about the bird. It is, however, a punny song about Wild Turkey bourbon, which not only pairs pretty well with Thanksgiving dinner, but also alleviates the stress of relatives talking politics at the table.
5. "Turkey Bird" Heywood Banks
Mainstay guest on syndicated radio's The Bob & Tom Show, musical comedian Heywood Banks' quirky ditty goes deep inside the daily life and struggles of an unwitting future main course.
6. "The Thanksgiving Song" Adam Sandler
Anyone coming of age in the 1990s tuned in to see Sandler's musical Weekend Update segments on Saturday Night Live or owned his comedy album They're All Gonna Laugh at You!. Those outlets, plus regular radio play have made this non-sequitur rhyming song an unofficial Thanksgiving anthem.
7. "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises
This 1960's go-go dance number at an office holiday party was added to the Burt Bacharach/Hal David composed musical (written by none other than Neil Simon) as a last ditch effort to end act one on a high note. It ended up stealing the show, and as our final turkey tune will take right into Christmas.