Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends, family and neighbours! Along with Turkey and football games, another staple of American Thanksgiving for many is listening to the 18 minute classic, “Alice’s Restaurant.”
November has been Peace month in the School Library, with an emphasis on understanding peace education, the anti-war movements, civil disobedience and other non-violent means of social change. Such themes overlap with American Thanksgiving in “Alice’s Restaurant.”
Originally released in 1967, Arlo Guthrie’s 18 minute long recording of “Alice’s Restaurant” is a protest song against the Vietnam War. The events described in the song, beginning with a Thanksgiving celebration amongst friends during the sixties, were the inspiration for a film which was released in 1969.
More than 50 years later Guthrie’s signature song is a staple of classic rock radio stations on and around American Thanksgiving.
The antiwar movement of the 1960s and early 1970’s focused on the American war in Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia. Many songs became forever associated with this era, perhaps none more so than “Give Peace a Chance.”
Although he was still a member of the Beatles, this was John Lennon’s first single released without the “Fab Four.” Originally the writing credits went to both Lennon and Paul McCartney, however later Lennon claimed that Yoko Ono deserved a credit, not Paul. The song was the musical highlight of the “Bed-In” of Lennon and Ono in Montreal in 1969. “Give Peace a Chance” would become what many consider to be the ultimate antiwar anthem.
Of course, many others will argue the ultimate antiwar anthem is John Lennon’s masterpiece, “Imagine.” Look for that in a future “Songs of Peace” post.