The Edit

THE BEST MUSIC FOR THANKSGIVING

music for thanksgiving

 

Looking for music to soundtrack this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations? From upbeat Thanksgiving songs, to slower, more tender tracks, we round up the very best Thanksgiving-themed songs in our catalogue.

Plus, we cast an eye over some of the all-time classic commercial tracks, from comic cuts from Carrie Underwood to Thanksgiving prayers by Johnny Cash and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Thanksgiving Songs in Our Catalogue

‘Save A Little Piece’David Tobin, Jeff Meegan & Tim Garland

Taken from their collaboration Smooth Crooners, 'Save A Little Piece' sees esteemed composers David Tobin and Jeff Meegan team up with saxophonist Tim Garland for a warm and romantic lounge jazz waltz with creamy male vocals.

‘Tenderness’Philip Guyler & Lincoln Grounds

A gentle, romantic theme, performed on piano and classical guitar, and embellished with strings.

‘November Moon’Pete Masitti & Lindsay Wynn

With two decades in the business already under his belt, the list of artists Pete Masitti has written, produced, played alongside, mixed and mastered is nothing short of formidable, ranging from Kelly Rowland to Snoop Dogg.

On ‘November Moon’ he joins forces with vocalist Lindsay Wynn, for an autumnal jazz ballad featuring haunting sax.

‘Expression Of Grace’Tim Devine & Francisco Renno

Taken from the album Solo Piano Masterclass – and starring the talents of virtuoso Francisco Renno – ‘Expression Of Grace’ is a gently reflective piano track, and the auditory equivalent of the warm embrace of nostalgia.

‘I’ll Be Yours’David Tobin, Jeff Meegan & Charley Harrison

Regular collaborators David Tobin and Jeff Meegan team up with Charley Harrison, Associate Director and principal composer and arranger of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, for this cosy, crooned ballad with warm orchestral strings.

‘I Wanna Thank You’Bruce Maginnis & Barry Leef

A spirit-stirring Thanksgiving soundtrack courtesy of Bruce Maginnis and Barry Leef.

Think soulful Southern blues featuring male vocals and an uplifting gospel choir.

‘Changing Seasons’Barrie Gledden, Kes Loy & Tim Reilly

Barrie Gledden, Kes Loy and Tim Reilly strip things back in this optimistic composition centred around cascading acoustic guitar.

‘Cooking’David O’Brien & Matt Hill

Looking to imbue your Thanksgiving content with a comedic touch? Look to David O’Brien and Matt Hill’s lip-smacking creation ‘Cooking’, which combines kitchen sound effects with soulful male vocals.

‘Candle and Firelight’Tim Garland

There’s nothing quite like glow of a jazz trio during cosy season and this addition to the genre by Tim Garland is perfect for warming the cockles.

‘Heart Of Gold’Chris Egan

As musical Director for stars including Elaine Page and Shirley Bassey, Chris Egan knows a thing or two about grand arrangements.

He puts that knowledge to good use on this swirling orchestral score, full of magic and romance.

November Moments’John Dankworth

From legendary composer the late Sir John Dankworth comes ‘November Moments’, a tender jazz piano ballad, sung by his daughter Jacqui.

‘Harvest’Jeremy Sherman

Head to the heartlands of America for this slice of wistful, rustic Americana by Jeremy Sherman. Features dobro, mandolin and organ.

In The Mood For Food’Barrie Gledden & Kes Loy

There’s plenty of comic potential in this quirky, 1920s-style song exploring a gentleman's eating habits.

‘Frohlich March’David Tobin, Jeff Meegan & Andrew Duncan

Taken from the aptly-titled album American Patriotic, ‘Frohlich March’ features a bright, vibrant marching band.

‘Bring The Harvest’Barrie Gledden, Kes Loy & Tim Reilly

For peaceful yet impassioned songs to play at Thanksgiving, look no further than this harvest-themed collaboration between Barrie Gledden, Kes Loy and Tim Reilly.

Expect delicate acoustic guitars with hypnotic motifs, building to a powerful ending.

Thanksgiving Classics

‘What A Wonderful World’ – Louis Armstrong

What better way to give thanks than to crank up this 1967 classic by jazz legend Louis Armstrong, which preaches the importance of appreciating the present moment. All together now: “I see fields of green…”

‘Thanksgiving Prayer’ – Johnny Cash

Over to the late, great Man In Black for this sweet Thanksgiving prayer, which was originally performed on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman back in 1994. As the song’s pared-back acoustic arrangement proves, simplicity can often be the most powerful way to communicate emotional sincerity.

‘Happy’ – Pharrell

Who’d have thought we’d have Despicable Me 2 to thank for one of the most life-affirming neo soul songs of the century? Pharrell’s 2013 ode to joy was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and remains one of the top 10 best-selling singles ever in the UK. So why not take a break from the turkey and spot some of the famous faces in the Grammy-approved music video – cameos include Magic Johnson, Kelly Osborne, Jimmy Kimmel and Tyler, The Creator.

‘God Only Knows’ – Beach Boys

While there’s scarcely a more celebrated subject in music than love, few songwriters have captured the heady rush of romantic infatuation quite as perfectly as Brian Wilson did with ‘God Only Knows’. A perfect love song expressing gratitude for a romantic partner, the Pet Sounds classic makes for a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving music playlist.

‘Stretchy Pants’ – Carrie Underwood

Eaten so much pumpkin pie you’re fit to burst? You should have heeded Carrie Underwood’s warning and packed some stretchy sweatpants. Boasting lyrics like, “Bring on the turkey, potatoes, casserole dishes /

'Cause I ain't messing around with them buttoned up britches,” this country-pop ode to Lycra and elasticated waistbands is all-but guaranteed to raise a grin at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

‘Thank You’ – Dido

Famously sampled by Eminem on ‘Stan’, Dido’s smash hit single ‘Thank You’ balances melancholic verses with a quietly beatific chorus giving thanks for a romantic partner.

‘Thanksgiving Song’ – Mary Chapin Carpenter

“Grateful for each hand we hold, gathered 'round this table / From far and near we travel home, blessed that we are able.” Mary Chapin Carpenter’s ‘Thanksgiving Song’ does precisely what it says on the tin.

‘Home’ – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

LA indie-folk outfit Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros struck gold with this single from their 2009 debut album Up From Below. Featured in films including Stuck In Love, What To Expect When You’re Expecting and   Jesus Henry Christ, plus episodes of TV series Community, Gossip Girl and Glee, ‘Home’ continues to prove a huge sync smash, while its warm and fuzzy musings on family make it ideally suited for your Thanksgiving gathering. Bonus points for the pumpkin pie reference too.

‘Thanksgiving Theme’ – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Just as A Charlie Brown Christmas is our go-to soundtrack during the Christmas holidays, this gem by the Vince Guaraldi Trio is a firm part of our Thanksgiving tradition. Written for the 1973 TV special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, this jazzy, piano-led score is perfect for warming hearts.

‘Family is Family’ – Kacey Musgraves

Grammy-winning country singer Kacey Musgraves takes a light-hearted look at the importance of family in this track from her second studio album, Pageant Material. “They might smoke like chimneys, but give you their kidneys,” she quips, continuing, “Yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family.” Cheers to that.

Searching for More Musical Pointers?

You can find loads more inspiration over on our blog The Edit, which is helpfully divided into articles providing Expertise, Inspiration and News.

Discover and sample our playlists and collections, or browse the latest albums and our very own top 40. Each and every one of our high-quality background music tracks is licensed for use in you in your next production, whether you’re working on TV programming, films or advertising.

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