Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Alice's Restaurant" is a musical monologue by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie released on his 1967 album Alice's Restaurant. The song is one of Guthrie's most prominent works, based on a true incident in his life that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965, and which inspired a 1969 movie of the same name. Apart from the chorus which begins and ends it, the "song" is in fact a spoken monologue, with a repetitive but catchy ragtime guitar backing.

In an interview for All Things Considered, Guthrie said the song points out that any American citizen who was convicted of a crime, no matter how minor (in his case, it was littering), could avoid being conscripted to fight in the Vietnam War. The Alice in the song was restaurant-owner Alice M. Brock, who in 1964 used $2,000 supplied by her mother to purchase a deconsecrated church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where Alice and her husband Ray would live. It was here rather than at the restaurant—which came later—where the song's Thanksgiving dinners were actually held.

It is notable as a satirical, first-person account of 1960s counterculture, in addition to being a hit song in its own right. The final part of the song is an encouragement for the listeners to sing along and put and end to war.

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