Time Again for Another Thanksgiving Music Tradition

It’s hard to believe that here in the U.S. Thanksgiving is upon us again. This is also the time of the year when New York classic rock radio station Q104.3 does its annual countdown of the Top 1,043 Classic Rock Songs Of All Time. The following borrows from two related posts I published last year.

The countdown is based on submissions from listeners who each can select 10 songs. All picks are then tabulated to create the big list. The countdown starts at 9:00 am EST the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday) and stretches all the way to sometime Sunday evening after the holiday. That’s how long it takes to get through all 1,043 songs. Obviously, they are all different tunes, as opposed to the much smaller rotation of songs most radio stations play over and over again.

The only interruption of the countdown happens at noon on Thanksgiving when Q104.3 plays Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, all 18 and a half minutes of it – just wonderful! Officially titled Alice’s Restaurant Massacree and released in October 1967, Alice’s Restaurant is also the title track of Guthrie’s debut album.

The tune is a largely spoken satirical protest song against the Vietnam War draft. It’s based on a true though exaggerated story that started on Thanksgiving 1965 when Guthrie and his friend Ray Brock were arrested by the local police of Stockbridge, Mass. for illegally dumping trash. Guthrie’s resulting criminal record from the incident later contributed to his rejection by the draft board.

Perhaps not surprisingly given Guthrie’s cinematic story-telling, Alice’s Restaurant also inspired a 1969 comedy film of the same name, starring Guthrie as himself. It was directed by Arthur Penn who among others is known as the director of the 1967 classic biographical crime picture Bonnie and Clyde.

Coming back to the countdown, this year, I didn’t get to submit any picks. After having taken a look at what I did last year, I still stand behind these tunes and shaking up things a little with four artists I had not selected in previous years: California Dreamin’ (Dirty Honey) and Side Street Shakedown (The Wild Feathers), both songs from 2021, as well as I Don’t Understand (The Chesterfield Kings) and Cinderella (The Fuzztones), tunes released in 2003 and 1985, respectively.

Following are the songs I probably would have submitted again this year, if I had had the opportunity. They are in no particular order.

Dirty Honey/California Dreamin’ – Dirty Honey, April 2021

The Wild Feathers/Side Street Shakedown – Alvarado, October 2021

The Black Crowes/Twice As Hard – Shake Your Money Maker, February 1990

AC/DC/It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) – High Voltage, April 1976

The Beatles/Helter Skelter – The Beatles, November 1968

David Bowie/Suffragette City – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, June 1972

Queen/Tie Your Mother Down – A Day at the Races, December 1976

The Who/The Real Me – Quadrophenia, October 1973

The Chesterfield Kings/I Don’t Understand – The Mindbending Sounds Of…The Chesterfield Kings, August 2003

The Fuzztones/Cinderella – Lysergic Emanations, 1985

I’m sure I’ll be listening on and off to the countdown over the coming days. Will Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven once again come in at no. 1, which it has every year since Q104.3 began their countdown? While I think that’s a foregone conclusion, I still enjoy listening to the countdown. It’s not all rock, but there is lots of great music with no repetition while it lasts!

Here’s a Spotify playlist of the above tunes.

Last but not least, if you celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving! If you don’t, hope you have a rockin’ and rollin’ great time anyway!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube; Spotify

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6 thoughts on “Time Again for Another Thanksgiving Music Tradition”

  1. Great songs Christian. Have you ever seen the movie? It’s a fun period based movie. Love the Fuzztones and the Chesterfields…
    The Real Me… this song is part of the reason why I like The Who’s rhythm section more than any other.

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  2. Hope yours was a good one! It would be cool to see a listing of their top 1043…always liked to listen to countdowns like that as a kid and teen, though they’d frequently make me quite frustrated and annoyed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These countdowns definitely are a mixed bag. And with “Stairway” coming in at no. 1 for 21 straight years and other tunes like “Hey Jude”, “Free Bird” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” consistently placing in the top 10, there isn’t much of a surprise factor. While it would be nice to see a different no. 1, I actually don’t care that much about the rankings. Instead, I look at more from an overall perspective and the fact that over a four-day stretch, you can listen to hundreds of great songs with no repetition.

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    1. I think you’re making a great point about an artist or band being championed by the DJ(s) working at a specific radio station.

      At Q104.3, several of their DJs really dig Led Zeppelin. They frequently play their music. That, you have to imagine, is part of the reason why folks like to listen to that station in the first place. So when it’s their annual turn to vote, I guess it’s not such a big surprise after all that Zep is all over the countdown and Stairway is the eternal no. 1.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think getting Simple Man to #1 is a pretty cool achievement. I’d never heard it until relatively recently – I would have assumed the Skynyrd pick would be Freebird or Sweet Home Alabama.

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