A new subject category – Gratitude in Popular Music – has been added in order to allow the opportunity each year around this time to shine a musical spotlight on thankfulness.
Zero to 180 has observed this tradition in the past via populist anthems that promote unity, such as “We the People” by Allan Toussiant, “Time to Get It Together” by Tom Jones, and “This Old Town” by Wilson Pickett.
This year’s featured selection, “I’m Thankful” — originally produced by Sam Cooke and recorded for the 1961 album Jesus Be a Fence Around Me by The Soul Stirrers – was once performed live on television, and a tape of that broadcast (thankfully) still exists:
“I’m Thankful” The Soul Stirrers c. early 1960s
Billboard, in its July 3, 1961 edition, would describe the flip side of “I Love the Lord” thusly:
“A slow spiritual with a higher voice taking over the lead. The feeling of the side is in a quiet groove. Simple backing assists the lead and the rest of the group”