Adam Sandler first sang this humorous ode to turkey just before Thanksgiving in 1992 on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, with a little help from Kevin Nealon. Sandler, who wrote the song with SNL writers Ian Maxtone-Graham and Robert Smigel, included a live version from his performance at The Strand in Redondo Beach on his debut album the following year. He also reprised the tune in the style of Bruce Springsteen on Weekend Update in 1993.
Sandler loves all aspects of the tasty bird ("White meat, dark meat, you just can't lose") and stuffs his turkey song with plenty of comical non sequiturs and celebrity references. "Love to eat the turkey at the table," he sings. "I once saw a movie with Betty Grable." Grable was a popular actress and pinup model of the WWII era. He also mentions the 1959 Elvis Presley album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong, Good Times actor Jimmie Walker and his catchphrase "Dy-no-mite!," baseball player Darryl Strawberry, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, and Sammy Davis Jr., who "only had one eye." Davis lost his left eye when he was severely injured in a 1954 car accident.
Sandler quips, "Can't believe Tyson gave that girl V.D." In February 1992, the boxer was convicted of raping teenage beauty queen Desiree Washington, who also claimed she contracted a venereal disease from the incident.
On the single version, Sandler includes a reference to Cheryl Tiegs as a nod to his Canteen Boy character, who had a crush on the model.
Although the turkey tune was written first, Sandler released the single as a follow-up to his more successful holiday hit, "The Chanukah Song
," in 1996. Aside from peaking at #67 on the pop chart, it landed at #40 on the Adult Pop chart and #29 on the rock tally.
By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, Christmas bells are already ringing. With few Thanksgiving songs to choose from, popular radio tends to skip straight to Santa and snowmen. But for those who enforce a strict "No Christmas music until after Thanksgiving" rule, Sandler's song usually resurfaces around turkey day as an antidote for premature holiday cheer. Mary Chapin Carpenter also brought her own "Thanksgiving Song" to the table on the 2008 album Come Darkness, Come Light.
Like many people, Sandler feels the need to take a nap after eating turkey. But the bird isn't to blame. Several studies have debunked the theory that tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey and other foods, causes post-meal drowsiness. Tryptophan does have a sedative effect, but only if it's taken on an empty stomach. The real culprit is the feast of fats and carbohydrates eaten along with the turkey that boosts serotonin levels and increases the production of sleep-inducing melatonin in the brain.
The album title is a reference to the 1976 horror film Carrie. Carrie's fanatical mother says the line to warn her against going to the prom and being bullied by her classmates. Sandler parodies the scene in the album track "Oh Mom..."