Track of the Day: 'Alice's Restaurant Massacree'

Past TracksWe have a lot of music-related traditions at my family Thanksgiving. We sing a hymn instead of saying grace before the meal, and after dinner is over, we gather around my cousin Jesse's guitar and belt out our favorite selections from the Rise Up songbook.

But my favorite comes before the food, before the guests even arrive: when "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" by Arlo Guthrie comes on the radio at noon. My mom, dad, brother, and I are usually gathered in the kitchen, preparing hors d'oeuvres, arranging centerpieces, checking on the turkey in the oven.

The 18-minute-long song takes place on Thanksgiving and manages to skewer local government bureaucracy, protest the Vietnam draft, and celebrate group sing-a-longs. The best part of the song, though, is its simple, catchy chorus that embodies the inclusive, bountiful spirit of the holiday: "You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant."



On iTunes: Arlo Guthrie / "Alice's Restaurant Massacree"

new track button.png
Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Entertainment

Just In