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American Pie – lyrics – Don McLean

 

A long long time ago ….
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock ‘n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
`cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

I was a lonely teenage bronc’n buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

I started singin’,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone,
But that’s not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me,

Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while Lennon read a book of Marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
`cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again.
So come on: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil’s only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan’s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And they were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

They were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
…this’ll be the day that I die.”

 

AMERICAN PIE – FACTS ABOUT THE SONG

“American Pie” is a folk rock song by singer-songwriter Don McLean.

Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was a number-one U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972. A re-release in 1991 did not chart in the U.S., but reached number 12 in the UK. The song is an abstract story of his life that starts with the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) in a plane crash in 1959, and ends in 1970; in the song he called the plane crash “the day the music died”. The importance of “American Pie” to America’s musical and cultural heritage was recognized by the Songs of the Century education project which listed the song performed by Don McLean as the number five song of the twentieth century. It’s also the longest #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit of all time at more than eight and a half minutes, though some Top 40 stations initially played only side 1 of the single, but the song’s popularity eventually forced stations to play the entire song.

The song lyrics are the subject of much curiosity. Although McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Buddy Holly, none of the singers in the plane crash are identified by name in the song itself. When asked what “American Pie” meant, McLean replied, “It means I never have to work again.” Later, he more seriously stated “You will find many ‘interpretations’ of my lyrics but none of them by me… sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.” McLean has generally avoided responding to direct questions about the song, except to acknowledge that he did first learn about Buddy Holly’s death while folding newspapers for his paper route on the morning of February 4th, 1959 (referenced in the song with the line “with every paper I deliver”). Despite this, many fans of McLean, amongst others, have attempted an interpretation; most agree that many lines make reference to The Beatles (John Lennon particularly), The Rolling Stones (also, possibly, Mick Jagger in particular), The Byrds, Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. At the time of the song’s original release in late 1971, many American AM & FM rock radio stations devoted entire shows discussing and debating the song’s lyrics, resulting in both controversy and intense listener interest in the song.

 

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