The history behind Don McLean’s “American Pie”

The longest song to have ever hit the top of the charts, Don McClean’s 1971 hit “American Pie” is familiar, at least in part, to people everywhere, but did McLean ever explain its significance beyond the death of Buddy Holly and company?

It turns out, the answer is no, though McLean’s story should be an inspiration to any kid suffering from all these ozone action days, seeing that his singing career was inspired by the limitations of and the exercises he did to improve severe asthma.

That’s just part of this epic song’s story, but here’s what we know of McLean’s interpretation of his work according to Eddie Denezen’s guest post at Neatorama:

Don’s album American Pie was released in 1971 and contained a song that was to become a part of music history. “I can’t necessarily interpret ‘American Pie’ any better than you can,” Don was to tell Life magazine. With one exception: Don was to say “Buddy Holly was the first and last person I ever idolized. Most of my friends liked Elvis Presley, more of them liked Elvis Presley than Holly, but I liked Holly because he spoke to me. He was a symbol of something deeper than the music.”

While a young boy delivering newspapers, Don clearly remembers reading about Holly’s fatal plane crash, along with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. In his stack of papers for February 3, 1959, Holly’s profound effect on McLean was indelible and, 12 years later, was to be the genesis of “American Pie.” Yes, the song was definitely about the tragic death of Buddy Holly, a great hero of Don’s, but aside from this basic agreed-upon point, he has never discussed the rest of the enigmatic lyrics…

Full story at Neatorama.

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