Arlo Guthie’s long musical monologue from 1965 65



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The singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie celebrates the 50th anniversary of a very special musical monologue. It is based on a true incident from his life that began on Thanksgiving day in 1965. Arlo was doing his friends a favour by taking the garbage out after their dinner but the dump was closed that day so he dropped the garbage off a cliff.  He was arrested the follow day and that mark on his record actually kept him out of Vietnam by making him ineligible for the draft. Since then it has become Arlo’s most beloved song and a Thanksgiving tradition, played nationwide in America on radio every year.

His concerts often get interrupted by calls to play this song but Arlo waits until the time feels right to perform it live. He stated that it’s simply too long to perform at every gig. Besides the chorus that begins and ends it, the “song” is actually a spoken monologue with guitar backing. It is a total of 18 minutes and 34 seconds long. Arlo can’t believe that such a long song could be so popular. It was released at a time when singles were typically less than three minutes in length.

Can you guess the tune?

Here’s a hint:

You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
Walk right in, it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant


Have a listen to “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie below. Tell us, what are you memories of this song?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Alice’s Restaurant……..”you can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant.”

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