Thanksgiving Edition: Songs About Your Family : All Songs Considered What song better describes Thanksgiving with your family: "Highway To Hell" or "All You Need Is Love?"

Thanksgiving Edition: Songs About Your Family

Thanksgiving Edition: Songs About Your Family

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/247201683/247203080" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Modern Family
ABC-TV

How would you describe your family in a song? Would it be AC/DC's ominous "Highway to Hell," or The Beatles' warm, sentimental "All You Need Is Love"?

Last week we asked you to tell us about the songs that remind you of your family. We got a lot of wonderful stories (and a few unsettling ones), along with a bunch of great song suggestions that reflect the same wide range of family experiences.

On this special Thanksgiving week edition of All Songs Considered, we share some of our favorite stories and songs — from still in love to "still crazy."

Songs Featured On This Episode

AC/DC

No Alternative Text

"Highway to Hell"

From 'Highway to Hell'

When your family gathers for Thanksgiving, do you prepare for disaster?

YouTube

The Beatles

No Alternative Text

"All You Need Is Love"

From 'Magical Mystery Tour'

Or are you stuffed to the gills with joy and happiness?

YouTube

Alasdair Roberts

No Alternative Text

"Whole House Is Singing"

From 'Farewell Sorrow'

"In the early eighties, my mother was working as a disc jockey for a rock station out of Albany, N.Y. She doesn't work on the radio anymore, but she still spins records late into the night. When the whole family's together, we all catch the bug, and then it's a late night of music and usually plenty of wine. Nothing better captures the feel of those nights than [this] song by Scottish musician Alasdair Roberts." -Jedediah B., Massachusetts

YouTube

The Beatles

No Alternative Text

"I Want to Hold Your Hand"

From 'The Beatles 1'

"When my husband and I were on our first date, we were walking to the restaurant and I was feeling very nervous and awkward. Then he said something to the effect of, 'Do you need something to do with that hand?' and took my hand in his. My hand fit perfectly, and I haven't let go in the almost 10 years since that moment." -Kate M.

YouTube

Radiohead

No Alternative Text

"No Surprises"

From 'OK Computer'

"At this point in my life, the song that best suits my family is Radiohead's 'No Surprises.' 'No alarms and no surprises, please,' is sort of the family motto." –Erin C.

YouTube

Sister Sledge

No Alternative Text

"We Are Family"

From 'We Are Family'

"At Thanksgiving, [my family and I are] all so happy to see each other and be together, and [this song] fits perfectly." –Tina M., Rhode Island

YouTube

Carl Douglas

No Alternative Text

"Kung Fu Fighting"

From 'Soul of the Kung Fu Fighter'

"...But as the day goes on, tempers flare, arguments begin, and 'Kung Fu Fighting' is the better theme song, only with words instead of fists flying. But then it's back to 'We Are Family' just in time for Christmas." -Tina M., Rhode Island

YouTube

Night Beds

No Alternative Text

"Even If We Try"

From 'Country Sleep'

"Kansans are stoic people, which means we do a tremendous amount of bottling. No matter how bad things get, we put on our best face. To me, that often leads to a lot of quiet reflection." -Robin Hilton, NPR

YouTube

Paul Simon

No Alternative Text

"Still Crazy After All These Years"

From 'Still Crazy After All These Years'

"My mom likes to go around the house and sing all the time. She listens to what used to be called the 'Music of Your Life' stations, which was music of the '30s and '40s ... It's all the great standards. Once in a while, they play modern songs. One day, Paul Simon came on. They played '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.' And my mom was walking around the house singing, 'Fifty ways to leave your mother.' [That] perfectly illustrates the zaniness that goes on when family gets together." -Bob Boilen, NPR

YouTube

Jimmy Dean

No Alternative Text

"Please Pass the Biscuits"

From '20 Great Story Songs'

"'Please Pass the Biscuits' portrays the [entire family] gathered around what one can only imagine to be a rather lengthy table for a family meal. As a young boy, I always identified with the voice of someone quite similar to me being completely overlooked ... I always loved hearing that song and it still makes me smile and flash a hungry grin as I fondly recall those fabulous family feasts of yore." –John W.

YouTube

Leadbelly

No Alternative Text

"Goodnight Irene"

From 'Best of Leadbelly'

"Going back to our roots in the rural farming town of St. Paul, Mo., our family partied with singing and music-making. Whenever my great-grandmother, Irene, would retire for the evening, the family song one last song: [Leadbelly's] 'Goodnight, Irene.' And even though she passed away years before I was born, we still end our parties with that tune." -Aaron D., Missouri

YouTube

Joni Mitchell

No Alternative Text

"A Case of You"

From 'Blue'

"I am so fortunate to have a family that may not be perfect, but they are perfect for me and I love them and never get tired of them. They are my best friends." –Jan

YouTube

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

No Alternative Text

"Heads Will Roll"

From 'It's Blitz!'

"While the lyrics of ['Heads Will Roll'] seem a bit savage, there's just an undeniable catchiness to the melody. My family is the same way. They tend to get a little crazy, but there's just something about them that I can't get out of my head." -Allaire, Arizona

YouTube