Classic Rock Thanksgiving Menu
Ah, Thanksgiving: A time of family, football, and – of course – food. For most people, turkey and stuffing are the cornerstones of the annual feast, but figuring out what else to serve can get tricky, so we decided to consult songs from some of our favorite classic rockers for a little extra help. The results certainly aren’t traditional, but they do manage to cover most of the basic food groups, so pull up a chair for our Classic Rock Thanksgiving Menu!
Okay, so it probably isn’t the first poultry that comes to mind for Thanksgiving. But when the “Dixie Chicken” in question is this tasty, why quibble? Even the finest turkey can’t compare with this vintage slice of funk-flavored rock from the Little Feat pantry. Originally released in 1973, “Chicken” found the Feat putting its newly expanded lineup to good use, leavening its sound with New Orleans R&B, and crafting a perennial FM favorite with the title track.
‘Poke Chop Sandwich’
It doesn’t get as much love as some of the earlier entries in the band’s multiplatinum catalog, but 1999’s XXX is a notable ZZ Top album in at least one respect: It leads off with the track “Poke Chop Sandwich,” a (surprise!) bluesy little boogie about the simple pleasures of biting into a good ‘n’ greasy meal. (Actually, like much of the band’s output, “Sandwich” can be taken a couple different ways, but this is a family site – get your mind out of the gutter while you’re at the Thanksgiving table.) While we probably wouldn’t play this over anything from their golden era, we’re definitely thankful that the band is still rocking.
Sometimes the little ones aren’t in the mood for turkey and stuffing, so it’s probably wise to keep the kiddie table stocked with more junior-friendly food – like, for instance, a serving dish full of Led Zeppelin‘s “Hot Dog.” While a sizable portion of the band’s catalog found them interpreting the blues, this track from In Through the Out Door takes a more self-consciously rockabilly approach, with singer Robert Plant referencing American institutions like U-Haul (not to mention hot dogs) and affecting a reverb-laden drawl as a sort of homage to the Sun Studios sound of the ’50s. Like the food referenced in its title, “Hot Dog” isn’t exactly the most substantial component of a Zep fan’s musical diet, but it can be perfectly satisfying if you’re in the right mood. Don’t forget your condiments!
‘Apples and Oranges’
One of the more obscure entries in the band’s catalog, Pink Floyd‘s “Apples and Oranges” signaled the end of an era, marking the end of their relatively brief flirtation with psychedelic rock as well as founding member Syd Barrett‘s tenure as a fully functioning creative partner in the group. Given how drastically their sound would change in the years to come, it’s tempting to imagine what might have been if “Apples and Oranges” hadn’t failed to break the U.K. charts – which is what we’ll be doing while we munch on this between-course dish in our classic rock Thanksgiving menu.
‘Red Red Wine’
At this point in our Thanksgiving menu, we’re starting to get pretty thirsty, so it’s probably a good time to take a break for a glass of Neil Diamond‘s “Red Red Wine.” While it’s nowhere near as well known as UB40’s cover, which adds a reggae toast and a sunnier overall vibe to Diamond’s rather morose folk ballad, we’re sticking with the original today. Because even on a day of giving thanks, there’s always time to devote a few reflective moments to the bittersweet memories of lost love.
‘The Honey Roll’
By the mid-’90s, AC/DC fans knew exactly what to expect from a new album by the band – and they got it with 1995’s Ballbreaker, an 11-song slab of molten riffs, stomping beats, and juvenile double-entendres from Australia’s loudest export. “The Honey Roll” delivers on all fronts, with perfectly AC/DC lines like “Honey roll over and lettuce on top” – and while the sweet treat referenced in the title might not be the most stereotypical of Thanksgiving foods, we think you’ll agree that without this little bit of “Honey,” our menu would be missing something.
You had to know this was going to end up on the menu, right? A lot of people love to hate it today, but in 1990, Warrant‘s “Cherry Pie” was a smash hit. And even if hindsight makes it seem like the song that might have taken hair metal a few chords beyond its logical conclusion, there’s no denying the lasting power of its delightfully ludicrous promotional clip, which fought Billy Idol‘s “Cradle of Love” to a curvy draw for the honor of 1990’s sexiest music video. When lead singer Jani Lane married the clip’s eye-popping vixen Bobbie Brown the following year, a nation of teenage boys nodded in appreciation.
Of the four George Harrison compositions that made the cut for the Beatles‘ 1968 self-titled double album, “Savoy Truffle” is arguably the least substantial. It was inspired by his friend Eric Clapton‘s tooth-endangering addiction to candy, it’s as light and sweet as its subject would suggest, with fuzzed-out horns and a distorted Fender Rhodes helping take the edge off its stern warning that “you’ll have to have them all pulled out after the savoy truffle.” Well, one never hurt anybody…
One of the most highly anticipated rock records of 1991, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge found Van Halen at the peak of its commercial power, and kicked off the summer with “Poundcake,” a salacious, power drill-assisted anthem that dominated AOR airwaves for weeks. Of course, all that sugary goodness couldn’t keep loyal David Lee Roth fans from hoping he’d come back to the band, nor did its buzz last long enough to prevent Sammy Hagar from splitting for a solo career a few years later – but it still makes for a fine dessert course in our classic rock Thanksgiving menu.
‘One More Cup of Coffee’
We’ve gorged ourselves on everything from “Dixie Chicken” to “Cherry Pie” and “Poundcake,” so now it’s time to loosen our belts, clear our plates, get up from the table, and say goodbye – but first, let’s pause for “One More Cup of Coffee” for the road, shall we? After all, there’s always room for Bob Dylan, and this mournful number from 1976’s Desire – featuring a gorgeous harmony vocal from Emmylou Harris – provides a perfectly bittersweet closing course for our feast. As Bob put it in the lyrics, “One more cup of coffee for the road / One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.”