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 Day 9: A song that makes you happy

*It has become a tradition for many classic rock and adult album alternative radio stations to play the song each Thanksgiving. Despite its use of the slur "faggots", radio stations generally present the song as originally recorded, and the Federal Communications Commission has never punished a station for playing it. When performing the song in later years, Guthrie began to change the line to something less offensive and often topical: during the 1990s and 2000s, the song alluded to the Seinfeld episode "The Outing" by saying "They'll think you're gay—not that there's anything wrong with that," and in 2020, Guthrie used the line "They'll think they're trying to get married in some parts of Kentucky", a nod to the controversy of the time surrounding county clerk Kim Davis.

By the late 1970s, Guthrie had removed the song from his regular concert repertoire. In 1984, Guthrie, who was supporting George McGovern's ultimately unsuccessful comeback bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, revived "Alice's Restaurant" to protest the Reagan Administration's reactivation of the Selective Service System registrations. That version has not been released on a commercial recording; at least one bootleg of it from one of Guthrie's performances exists. It was this tour, which occurred near the 20th anniversary of the song (and continued as a general tour after McGovern dropped out of the race), that prompted Guthrie to return the song to his playlist every ten years, usually coinciding with the anniversary of either the song or the incident. The 30th anniversary version of the song includes a follow-up recounting how he learned that Richard Nixon had owned a copy of the song, and he jokingly suggested that this explained the famous 18½-minute gap in the Watergate tapes.

Guthrie rerecorded his entire debut album for his 1997 CD Alice's Restaurant: The Massacree Revisited, on the Rising Son label, which includes this expanded version. The 40th anniversary edition, performed at and released as a recording by the Kerrville Folk Festival, made note of some parallels between the 1960s and the Iraq War and George W. Bush administration. Guthrie revived the song for the 50th anniversary edition in 2020, which he expected would be the last time he would do so. In 2018, Guthrie began the "Alice's Restaurant: Back by Popular Demand" Tour, reuniting with members of his 1970s backing band Shenandoah. The tour, which features Guthrie's daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie as the opening act, was scheduled to wrap up in 2020. To justify bringing the song back out of its usual ten-year sequence, he stated that he was doing so to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the film version of the song. The tour ended in 2021 and was later confirmed to have been Guthrie's last; he suffered a career-ending stroke in November of that year and announced his retirement in October 2020.

* (borrowed from Wikipedia)

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