American Pie (song) – Wikipedia

1971 unmarried by Don McLean
This article is about the Don McLean song. For the Shea Diamond song, see Shea Diamond
American Pie “ is a sung by american singer and songwriter Don McLean. Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the individual was the number-one US hit for four weeks in 1972 starting January 15 [ 2 ] after fair eight weeks on the Billboard charts ( where it entered at count 69 ). [ 3 ] The sung besides topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In the UK, the single reached number 2, where it stayed for 3 weeks, on its original 1971 passing and a reissue in 1991 reached No. 12. The song was listed as the No. 5 song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century. A truncate interpretation of the sung was covered by Madonna in 2000 and reached No. 1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. At 8 minutes and 42 seconds, McLean ‘s combine interpretation is the one-sixth long song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 ( at the time of passing it was the longest ). The sung besides held the record for about 50 years for being the longest song to reach total one [ 4 ] before Taylor Swift ‘s “ All Too Well ( Taylor ‘s Version ) “ broke the record in 2021. [ 5 ] due to its exceeding length, it was initially released as a bilateral 7-inch individual. [ 6 ] “ American Pie ” has been described as “ one of the most successful and consider songs of the twentieth century ”. [ 7 ]

The repeatedly mentioned give voice “ the day the music died “ refers to the plane crash in 1959 that killed early rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, and ended the era of early rock and seethe ; this became the popular dub for that crash. however the overall root of the song goes beyond mourning McLean ‘s childhood music heroes, and reflects the deeply cultural changes and profound disenchantment and passing of purity of his entire generation [ 7 ] – the early rock and bun generation – that took place between the 1959 plane crash and either late 1969 [ 8 ] or belated 1970. [ 9 ] [ 10 ] The intend of the other lyrics, which cryptically allude to many of the jar events and social changes experienced during that period, have been debated for decades. McLean repeatedly declined to explain the symbolism behind the many characters and events mentioned ; he finally released his songwriting notes to accompany the original manuscript when it was sold in 2015, explaining many of these. In 2017, McLean ‘s original record was selected for conservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “ culturally, historically, or artistically meaning ”. [ 11 ] To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the song, McLean is scheduled to perform a 35-date tour through Europe, starting in Wales and ending in Austria, in 2022. [ 12 ]

backdrop [edit ]

Don McLean reportedly wrote “ American Pie ” in Saratoga Springs, New York, at Caffè Lena, but a 2011 New York Times article quotes McLean as disputing this claim. [ 13 ] Some employees at Caffè Lena claim that he started writing the song there, and then continued to write the song in both Cold Spring, New York, [ 14 ] and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [ 15 ] McLean claims that the song was only written in Cold Spring and Philadelphia. [ 13 ] Tin & Lint, a bar on Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs, claims the song was written there, and a brass marks the table. While some have claimed other places, such as Saint Joseph ‘s University, as where the sung was first gear performed, [ 16 ] McLean insists that the song made its debut in Philadelphia at Temple University [ 13 ] when he opened for Laura Nyro on March 14, 1971. [ 15 ] McLean used a 1969 or 1970 Martin D-28 guitar to provide the basic chords throughout “ American Pie ”. [ 17 ] The song debuted in the album American Pie in October 1971, and was released as a single in December. The song ‘s eight-and-a-half-minute distance meant that it could not fit entirely on one side of the 45 RPM record, thus United Artists had the first 4:11 taking up the A-side of the record and the final 4:31 the B-side. Radio stations initially played the A-side of the song only, but soon switched to the full album adaptation to satisfy their audiences .

Interpretations [edit ]

The sense of disenchantment and loss that the song transmits international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate just approximately deaths in the global of music, but besides about a generation that could no long believe in the utopian dream of the 1950s … According to McLean, the song represents a shift from the naïve and innocent ‘ 50s to the colored ten of the ‘ 60s

Alva Yaffe, Musicholics, [ 7 ]

Don called his song a complicated fable, open to different interpretations. “ People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity. Of course I did. I wanted to make a solid series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the department of state of club at the prison term. ”

superseventies.com, [ 19 ]
The song has nostalgic themes, [ 20 ] stretching from the recently 1950s until recently 1969 or 1970. Except to acknowledge that he first learned about Buddy Holly ‘s death on February 3, 1959 – McLean was historic period 13 – when he was folding newspapers for his composition route on the dawn of February 4, 1959 ( hence the credit line “ February made me shiver/with every paper I ‘d deliver ” ), McLean has broadly avoided responding to direct questions about the sung ‘s lyrics ; he has said : “ They ‘re beyond analysis. They ‘re poetry. ” [ 21 ] He besides stated in an column published in 2009, on the fiftieth anniversary of the crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “ The Big Bopper ” Richardson ( who are alluded to in the final verse in a comparison with the Christian Holy Trinity ), that writing the first verse of the song exorcised his long-running grief over Holly ‘s death and that he considers the song to be “ a big birdcall … that summed up the world known as America ”. [ 22 ] McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Holly. Some commentators have identified the song as outlining the blackening of cultural climate, as over meter the cultural vanguard passed from Pete Seeger and Joan Baez ( the “ King and Queen ” of family music ), then from Elvis Presley ( known as “ the King ” of Rock and Roll ), to Bob Dylan ( “ the Jester ” – who wore a jacket similar to that worn by cultural picture James Dean, was known as “ the spokesperson of his genesis ” ( “ a voice that came from you and me ” ), [ 23 ] and whose motorbike accident ( “ in a cast ” ) left him in reclusion for many years, recording in studios preferably than touring ( “ on the sidelines ” ), to The Beatles ( John Lennon, punned with Lenin, and “ the Quartet ” – although McLean has stated the Quartet is a reference point to early people [ 6 ] ), to The Byrds ( who wrote one of the first gear psychedelic rock songs, “ Eight Miles High “, and then “ fell fast ” – the song was banned, one of the group entered rehabilitation ( known colloquially as a “ fallout shelter ” ), and shortly after, the group declined as it lost members, changed genres, and alienated fans ), to The Rolling Stones ( who released Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Their Satanic Majesties Request ( “ Jack Flash ”, “ Satan ”, “ The Devil ” ), and used Hells Angels – “ Angels bear in Hell ” – as consequence security, with fatal consequences, bringing the 1960s to a crimson end [ 24 ] ), and to Janis Joplin ( the “ female child who sang the blues ” but just “ turned away ” – she died of a heroin overdose the following year ). It has besides been speculated that the sung contains numerous references to post-World War II American political events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy ( known casually as “ Jack ” ) and subsequent killing of his assassin ( whose court test obviously ended as a leave ( “ adjourned ” ), [ 25 ] the Cuban Missile Crisis ( “ Jack be agile, Jack be promptly ” ), [ 26 ] the murders of civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, [ 27 ] and elements of acculturation such as windsock hops ( “ kicking off shoes ” to dance, preventing price to the varnish floor ), cruising with a pickup truck, [ 25 ] [ 28 ] the ascent of the political protest song ( “ a part that came from you and me ” ), drugs and the Counterculture, the Manson Family ‘s and murders in the “ summer swelter ” of 1969 ( the Beatles ‘ sung “ Helter Skelter “ ) and much more. [ 6 ] many extra and alternative interpretations have besides been proposed. For example, Bob Dylan ‘s first performance in Great Britain was besides at a public house called “ The King and Queen ”, and he besides appeared more literally “ on the sidelines in a ( the ) casting ” – as one of many stars at the back far right of the cover art of the Beatles ‘ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ( “ the Sergeants played a border tune ” ). [ 26 ] The song entitle itself is a reference to apple pie, an unofficial symbol of the United States and one of its signature comfort foods, [ 29 ] as seen in the popular expression “As American as apple pie”. [ 30 ] By the twentieth hundred, this had become a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. [ 30 ] When asked what “ american Pie ” mean, McLean facetiously replied, “ It means I do n’t always have to work again if I do n’t want to. ” [ 31 ] belated, he 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 dignify hush. ” [ 32 ] He besides commented on the popularity of his music, “ I did n’t write songs that were equitable catchy, but with a point of view, or songs about the environment. ” In February 2015, however, McLean announced he would reveal the mean of the lyrics to the sung when the original manuscript went for auction in New York City, in April 2015. [ 33 ] The lyrics and notes were auctioned on April 7, and sold for $ 1.2 million. [ 34 ] In the sale catalogue notes, McLean revealed the mean in the sung ‘s lyrics : “ basically in ‘American Pie ‘ things are heading in the wrong direction. … It [ life ] is becoming less idyllic. I do n’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense. ” [ 35 ] The catalog confirmed some of the better-known references in the song ‘s lyrics, including mentions of Elvis Presley ( “ the king ” ) and Bob Dylan ( “ the jester ” ), and confirmed that the birdcall climaxes with a description of the death of Meredith Hunter at the Altamont Free Concert, ten years after the plane barge in that killed Holly, Valens, and Richardson. [ 35 ] Mike Mills of R.E.M. reflected : “ ‘American Pie ‘ just made perfect sense to me as a song and that ‘s what impressed me the most. I could say to people this is how to write songs. When you ‘ve written at least three songs that can be considered classic that is a identical high bat average and if one of those songs happens to be something that a big many people think is one of the greatest songs ever written you ‘ve not only hit the top of the mountain but you ‘ve stayed high on the mountain for a hanker time. ” [ 36 ] In 2017, Bob Dylan was asked about how he was referenced in the sung. “ A jester ? sure, the jester writes songs like ‘ Masters of War ‘, ‘ A Hard Rain ‘s a- Gon na Fall ‘, ‘ It ‘s Alright, Ma ‘ – some jester. I have to think he ‘s talking about person else. Ask him. ” [ 37 ]

Personnel [edit ]

  • Don McLean – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Paul Griffin – piano[38][39]
  • David Spinozza – electric guitar
  • Bob Rothstein – bass, backing vocals
  • Roy Markowitz – drums, tambourine
  • West Forty Fourth Street Rhythm and Noise Choir – chorus

Charts [edit ]

Certifications [edit ]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[55] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[56] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on authentication alone .

Parodies, revisions, and uses [edit ]

In 1999, “ eldritch Al ” Yankovic wrote and recorded a parody of “ American Pie ”. Titled “ The Saga Begins “, the song recounts the plot of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace from Obi-Wan Kenobi ’ s point of view. While McLean gave permission for the parody, he did not make a cameo appearance in its video, despite democratic rumor. McLean himself praised the parody, flush admitting to about singing Yankovic ‘s lyrics during his own alive performances because his children played the song indeed frequently. [ 57 ] [ 58 ] An unrelated comedy film franchise by Universal Pictures, who secured the rights to McLean ‘s deed, besides debuted in 1999. [ 59 ]

“ american Pie ” was the last song to be played on Virgin Radio before it was rebranded as Absolute Radio in 2008. [ 60 ] The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, created a lip dub video recording to “ American Pie ” in response to a Newsweek article that stated the city was “ dying ”. [ 61 ] The video was hailed as a antic performance by many including Roger Ebert, who said it was “ the greatest music video ever made ”. [ 62 ] On March 21, 2013, Harmonix announced that “ American Pie ” would be the concluding downloadable cut made available for the Rock Band series of music television games. [ 63 ] This was the case until Rock Band 4 was released on October 6, 2015, reviving the series ‘ hebdomadally releases of DLC. On March 14, 2015, the National Museum of Mathematics announced that one of two winners of its songwriting contest was “ american english Pi ” by mathematics education professor Dr. Lawrence M. Lesser. [ 64 ] The contest was in honor of “ Pi Day of the Century ” because “ 3/14/15 ” would be the merely day in the 21st-century showing the beginning five digits of π ( pi ). On April 20, 2015, John Mayer covered “ american Pie ” populate on the Late Show with David Letterman, at the request of the read ‘s eponymous host. [ 65 ] On January 29, 2021, McLean released a re-recording of “ American Pie ” featuring contribute vocals and instrumentals by state a cappella group Home Free. [ 66 ] The sung is featured in Marvel ’ s Black Widow movie, directed by Cate Shortland and starring Scarlett Johansson, released on July 9, 2021. [ 67 ] It is Black Widow ( Yelena Belova ) ‘s front-runner song. The song was besides sang by Red Guardian later in the film trying to comfort Yelena. [ 68 ] “ american Pie ” is besides featured in the 2021 Tom Hanks movie Finch. [ 69 ]

Madonna interpretation [edit ]

setting [edit ]

American singer Madonna released a cover version of the song in February 2000 to promote the soundtrack of her film The Next Best Thing ( 2000 ), with the song being serviced to radio on February 2. [ 71 ] Her covering is much shorter than the original ( it contains alone the beginning of the first verse and all of the second and one-sixth verses ) and was recorded as a dance-pop song. It was co-produced by Madonna and William Orbit and released on the singer ‘s Maverick label, after Rupert Everett ( Madonna ‘s co-star in The Next Best Thing ) had convinced her to cover the song for the film ‘s soundtrack. [ 72 ] It is included as an international bonus track on her eighth studio album, Music. “ american Pie ” was not included in the 2001 greatest hits compilation GHV2 ( 2001 ) because Madonna had regretted putting it on Music. “ It was something a sealed commemorate company administrator twisted my arm into doing, but it did n’t belong on the album so immediately it ‘s being punished … My catgut told me not to [ put the birdcall on Music ], but I did it and then I regretted it so merely for that reason it did n’t deserve a place on GHV2. ” she said. [ 73 ] [ 74 ]

Release and reception [edit ]

Released on February 28, 2000, [ 75 ] the song was a worldwide reach, reaching No. 1 in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Finland. The birdcall was the 19th-best-selling single of 2000 in the UK and the ninth best-selling single of 2000 in Sweden. The single was not released commercially in the United States, but it reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 due to potent radio airplay. NME gave it a negative review, saying that it was “ sub-karaoke ruffle ” and that “ it ‘s a benediction she did n’t bother recording the hale thing. ” [ 76 ] Chuck Taylor from Billboard, on the early hand, was impressed by the commemorate and commented, “ Applause to Madonna for not pandering to today ‘s irregular trends and for challenging programmers to broaden their playlists. … In all, a fine preview of the approaching soundtrack to The Next Best Thing. ” [ 77 ] Don McLean himself praised the cover, saying it was “ a giving from a goddess ”, and that her translation is “ mystic and animal ”. [ 78 ] In 2017, the Official Charts Company stated the sung had sold 400,000 copies in the United Kingdom and was her 16th best selling single to date in the state. [ 79 ]

music video [edit ]

The music television, filmed in the southern United States and in London [ 80 ] and directed by Philipp Stölzl, depicts a divers array of ordinary Americans, including scenes showing same-sex couples kissing. Throughout the music television Madonna, who is wearing a tiara on her head, dances and sings in front man of a large american english flag. Two official versions of the television were produced, the first of which now appears on Madonna ‘s greatest-hits DVD compilation, Celebration, and was released as the official television worldwide. The second translation was issued along with the “ Humpty Remix ”, a more upbeat and dance-friendly version of the birdcall. This video was aired on MTV ‘s dance channel in the United States to promote the film The Next Best Thing, starring Madonna and Rupert Everett ; it contains wholly different footage and new outtakes of the original and omits the lesbian kiss. Everett, who provides back vocals in the song, is besides featured in the video .

Credits and personnel [edit ]

Credits and personnel are adapted from the American Pie individual liner notes. [ 81 ]

Charts [edit ]

Certifications and sales [edit ]

See besides [edit ]

References [edit ]

foster read [edit ]

Lyric interpretations and analysis

many people have analyzed the lyrics since the song was released. Examples of these include :

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