A Look Back at Arlo Guthrie's Classic "Alice's Restaurant"

Nov 30, 2020

Alice's Restaurant
Credit Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Back in 1966 when the Vietnam War was raging, folk singer Arlo Guthrie started performing a song called Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.

The 18-minute talking blues tune was about a Thanksgiving gathering in Western Massachusetts, after which Guthrie and a friend were arrested for dumping some garbage in the town of Stockbridge.

The song was turned into a movie and despite its length became a Thanksgiving standard on rock radio.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish tells us how a New York radio station helped launch the song.