A Thanksgiving Day tradition continues this year on our sister station, KXT 91.7 FM.
Tune in Thursday at noon and 6 p.m. for all 18 minutes of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” a musical monologue by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie released on his 1967 album Alice’s Restaurant.
Our KXT friends give us the scoop:
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.
Though the song’s official title, as printed on the album, is “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (pronounced “mass-a-cree,” not massacre), Guthrie states in the opening line of the song that “This song’s called ‘Alice’s Restaurant’” and that “‘Alice’s Restaurant’… is just the name of the song;” as such, the shortened title is the one most commonly used for the song today.
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.