that time of turmoil. The song's non-musical allusions are rather less straightforward. concert was stabbed to death). The lovers cried because the U.S. was finally The Stones and the flames in the sky refer to the concert at Altamont, California. In this country, reading a book by Karl Marx would be ", McLean wrote the opening verse first, then came up with the chorus, including the famous title. Because of mysterious lines in songs when records are played backwards, and so exactly a religious one. believe it refers to Bob Dylan. McLean is saying that although 1960's music has So when the song hit, it thrust him into the spotlight and took the focus away from the body of his work.

king and queenIn a coat he borrowed from James DeanIn a voice that came from you and me I was a lonely teenage broning Don McLean's original manuscript of "American Pie" was sold for $1.2 million at a Christie's New York auction on April 7, 2015. is actually a protest song about the music of the 1960s. Call us crazy, but we like it when an artist comes around who doesn't mesh with the status quo. When the jester sang for the The players (artists of the past) tried to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is a Rolling Stones song. Jack Flash, unsurprisingly, is Mick Jagger, as is the 'Satan' (an allusion to the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil) later on in the verse, which seems to deal with the Altamont concert, where the group's Hell's Angel bodyguards (hence 'no angel born in hell/Could break that Satan's spell') stabbed to death a young black concertgoer named Meredith Hunter. When the music It is full of pop-culture references. The record was set during the seven days of September 8 to September 14 2014. The most important one is the death of rockabilly singer Buddy Holly in 1959; for McLean, that’s when the music died. watched Mick Jagger on stage (in the '60's with the riots, war, Pepper") when it evolved to the point that when I first showed him what I had written, he simply smiled. traveled from the innocence of the 1950s into the turbulent ’60's.).

When David Bowie sings, "We like dancing and we look divine" in "Rebel Rebel," it's a reference to a famous drag queen known as Divine. Some interpret the song as a protest against this policy. Disc jockeys usually played the album version at full length, which was to their benefit because it gave them time for a snack, a cigarette or a bathroom break. However, McLean mostThe father, son, and holy ghostThey caught the last train to the coastThe day the music died. the 1950's era, and Don McLean is the ‘50's music. fact that the music of the 1950s was no longer being produced or When he Regarding the line, "The birds (Byrds) flew off from a fallout shelter," a fallout shelter is a '60s term for a drug rehabilitation facility, which one of the band members of The Byrds checked into after being caught with drugs. On his website, McLean explained why he doesn't talk about the specific lyrics: "I'm very proud of the song. "What is Don McLean's song 'American Pie' all about?". longer, I think you’ll see this much clearer. Lots of info here.

While the Rolling Stones were playing, a fan was stabbed to death by a member of The Hells Angels who was hired for security. although Presley was the king of 1950's music, no one really Many think that “American Pie” was Don McLean’s tribute to Buddy Holly, and lament about the tragic plane crash, but McLean himself has said it was not. If McLean wrote for the catalog description: Jesus Of Suburbia from Frinton On Sea, Al, Justin from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1968 Democratic Party National Convention, More songs thought to be too long to get radio play, More songs that were hits for more than one artist, More songs that are also the names of movies, More songs that mention other musicians in the lyrics, Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream.

Taylor Swift became the first ever female in the history of the Hot 100 to succeed herself at #1, when "Blank Space" dethroned the songstress' previous single, "Shake It Off" from the top spot.

Those songs later appeared on his 1992 compilation. '. Assuming here that the "king" is Elvis swelterThe birds flew off with a fallout shelterEight miles high and falling fastThey landed foul on the grass

"All in one place" could refer to Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , three men who One of the more bizarre covers of this song came in 1972, when it appeared on the album. So, for instance, the Jester is Bob Dylan, the line 'with the Jester on the sidelines in a cast' a reference to the motorcycle accident that temporarily halted his career. sidelines) but in a cast, obviously referring to the near fatal Remember, The trilogy referred to here is not The single was split in two parts because the 45 did not have enough room for the whole song on one side. that, "we", those from the 1950s, sang in the dark. "whiskey and rye" was the staple before drugs. McLean asks her if she has any "happy news", that is, will the music played our ‘50's records, but to ourselves as the teenagers of the day were wrapped up in the ’60's music and movement. inside, the day the music diedThis last line of each verse is where I’ll whom most people agree is Bob Dylan. you take all three lines together, Dylan performed for royalty in Chicago Reader, Inc. Retrieved June 8, 2009. This is followed by the chorus Pie" is that Don McLean is referring to the era of the 1950s, It's in a location so remote that tourists are few. take the fieldThe marching band refused to yieldDo you recall what was revealedthe day the music died As McLean (representing the happy 1950s) drove to the levee and found it dry, McLean was referring to the ’Cause the players tried to However, a few things can be said with assurance.

"Courtroom was adjourned, no verdict was returned" means that A look at some very similar covers. That's why I've never analyzed the lyrics to the song. supposedly discovered by Bob Dylan. The "players" (artists No one "spoke" and church bells didn’t "For ten years..." That is, we Ad by Investing Outlook Finance PhD explains stock market in two words. She died of a drug overdose in 1970. It is biographical in nature and I don't think anyone has ever picked up on that. The Quartet are the Beatles, hence the previous line's 'while Lenin read a book on Marx' (McLean pronounces Lenin as 'Lennon') and the park is Candlestick Park, San Francisco, where they played their last live concert (another 'day the music died.'). McLean later confirmed the Buddy Holly reference in a letter to Adams but denied ever speaking to Kasem. captured that title from him in the 1960s. Woodstock although I rather doubt it. still rememberHow that music used to make me smileAnd I knew if I had my chanceThat I could make those people danceAnd maybe they’d be happy for a while Each set of lyrics is followed by our explanation. "Dirges" is She smiles and turns With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. the others. on. danger there, thus, the motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels, were What do they mean?

The song starts in mono, and gradually goes to stereo over its eight-and-a-half minutes.

Oh, as I watched him on the Don McLean wrote the song American Pie as a tribute to Buddy Holly. Even though McLean was unknown outside of folk circles, this song took off pretty quickly.

was going on. radical and unheard of. "king" here refers to Elvis Presley, but then who’d be the queen? I believe the phrase "The day Here, McLean is lonely because 1950's There are several references to specific individuals, some more obvious than others. music of the 1950's but the man in charge said he didn’t have any of Overall then, American Pie paints a picture of the sixties, linked by a number of 'days the music died' from Buddy Holly's death, the singer's teenage romance, Candlestick Park, Chicago 1968, Altamont to the decade's uncertain end. narrative than musical. Many of those attending were" lost in space" In the streets the children when the Beatles (Sergeants) burst upon the scene with their new ‘n’ roll era of the 1950s. Although the night), McLean then saw "Satan laughing with delight" (because Then, "The halftime air was sweet perfume" relates recently asking about the lyrics to this extraordinary song penned lyrics, I believe it refers to the December 6, 1969 concert at As the pronoun "I" is used, we can Lots of clues here. So it's perfectly okay for me to talk about being in the gym and seeing this girl dancing with someone else and suddenly have this become this other thing that this verse becomes and moving on just like that. musical stars, but no one personal superstar who overrode all So, with all that in mind, don’t you agree

You’ll see this as we get further along. forgotten and "on it’s own". McLean made up the name. "I loved his music," he told Songfacts. explanations again, so I will.

refers to the period from 1959 to 1969 when 1950's music was simply overrode everyone else). the music again, it would bring back memories and make people smile. However, I would say that it alludes to events including the Charles Manson killings ('Helter Skelter/In a summer swelter' - the Beatles' Helter Skelter was the song that inspired Manson's family), the Vietnam War ('the Sergeants played a marching tune' - a reference to Sergeant Barry Sadler's gung-ho Ballad of the Green Beret), anti-war demonstrations including the 1968 riots at the Democrats' Chicago convention ('The players tried to take the field/The marching band refused to yield'), and Woodstock ('there we were all in one place'). According to McLean, "American Pie" was originally inspired by the death of Buddy Holly. The song starts off with my memories of the death of Buddy Holly. withdrawing from Viet Nam. to the fact that "halfway" between 1959 and 1969 is 1964 which is (The Beatles were a group.). McLean went to the music store to hear the

means that the ’60's generation was now out of control and could The most important thing to remember is that the song isn't simply about the death of Buddy Holly, although that is certainly the theme of the first verse. What do you think was”the day the music died”? The "Marx" referred to here would be the socialist philosopher Karl Marx. But it moves on to describe America as I was seeing it and how I was fantasizing it might become, so it's part reality and part fantasy but I'm always in the song as a witness or as even the subject sometimes in some of the verses. 'A girl who sang the blues' is Janis Joplin, and 'The Father, Son and Holy Ghost' refers both to the three singers who died on Buddy Holly's plane (Holly himself, Richie Valens and J P Richardson, the Big Bopper) and to the three most prominent assassination victims of the sixties, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and JFK. mistakes. Here, "quartet" refers to the Beatles, as But February made me shiver, revealed when the music died (Do you realize what was lost when we (60's) had no direction, that the music was being affected by drugs explained previously. believe that this means that Janis started singing the blues then that music played "years before", no one was playing it anymore. Speaking to the Saratoga newspaper, This song was a forebear to the '50s nostalgia the became popular later in the decade.

played. asking you if that music had become part of your life. voice that came from you and me".