American Pie: DON McLEAN

Australian singles charts:
American Pie entered the Kent charts on 24 January 1972 and was a #1 hit. The song was #5 on the Top 100 of 1972.

The song is on American Pie which entered the Kent album charts on 6 March 1972. It reached #1 on 3 April 1972 and remained on top for 11 weeks.

Don McLean

Ed Freeman

Record label of Australian release:
United Artists

BONUS CLIP BELOW: American Pie Explained

The repeatedly mentioned phrase “the day the music died” refers to the plane crash in 1959 that killed early rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. (McLean’s description eventually became the popular name for the plane crash.) The meaning of the other lyrics has long been debated, and for decades, McLean declined to explain the symbolism behind the many characters and events mentioned; he eventually released his songwriting notes in 2015, explaining many of the symbols in the lyrics. The overall theme of the song is the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation as symbolized by the plane crash that claimed the lives of three of its heroes and various other events over the course of the 1960s.
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The Washington Post:
“Basically in American Pie, things are heading in the wrong direction,” he told Christie’s, as the Newcastle Herald reported. “It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.”
As ideals of the 1960s turned into the cynicism of the 1970s, this feeling was widespread enough to send the song to No. 1 in 1972.
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The Guardian:
There’s general agreement that the song is about the cultural and political decline of the US in the 1960s, a farewell to the American dream after the assassination of President Kennedy. “Bye bye Miss American Pie,” he sings. “Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.” But McLean has always kept stumm about the allusions in his verses.
Every line of American Pie has been stripped bare. There are fan websites dedicated entirely to decoding it. Who was the jester who sang for the king and queen in a coat he borrowed from James Dean? What exactly was revealed the day the music died?
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BONUS CLIP – American Pie Explained: Don McLean’s cultural history of rock n’ roll

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