On February 3, 1959 American Rock Stars, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and, JP the Big Bopper Richardson were killed in plane crash along with the pilot Roger Peterson.
Three talented young Rockers were taken from the world so tragically; let’s not forget the pilot in this heartbreaking event who also perished. Today in history or in the music industry is known as the day the music died…
“So bye, bye Miss American Pie….drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry….” Lyrics by Don McLean – Miss American Pie
After a little more than a decade past, this awful scene was preserved, along with many events that took place in a ten-year span, by a young Don McLean.
I have mentioned before how I love music, and how certain words in songs touch me quite deeply. American Pie is one of those songs that always got my attention; because I have always been so curious of what it all meant. When I first heard American Pie, it was just that another song that played on the radio always, but as I got older – there was a realization of a deeper significance.
Don McLean sold the lyrics and notes of the song for 1.2 million dollars at a Christie Auction in 2015 this is what he was quoted:
McLean said in a Christie’s catalog ahead of the sale. “It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music.”
In the same article Don McLean was quoted about the sale of the lyrics is,
“I’m going to be 70 this year,” he told Rolling Stone. “I have two children and a wife, and none of them seem to have the mercantile instinct. I want to get the best deal that I can for them. It’s time.” -
I’m not questioning the sale – I’m not here to judge, but I cannot help thinking how ironic that this was to be the fate of these beautiful words, from someone who for one brief moment was telling the world that things were changing, that our innocence was gone, music, and our history would never be the same. Was it a warning? Maybe, or maybe not, perhaps it was a song that shed some light of many events? This led to other events, which ultimately the focus could have been that the simplicity of song and dance….were sacrificed.
Or maybe it was just a song that after its release, it hit number 1 on the charts, and for many years its elusive words made people come up with interpretations , becoming more cult-like than anything else….. What I like to know was Mr. McLean trying to teach us all a lesson? Perhaps.
I think the meaning is simple…. Which is a young paperboy delivering “ bad news on every doorstep” became aware – this boy was wide-awake from that day forward and never looked at the news or music the same way….because in a way on February 3, 1959 when the music industry lost three very talented young souls …music lost its innocence too and well grew up.
I can go on with word for word of the song and tell you my interpretation of what it all means … but I’ll give you a few lines and what I think the meanings are ; then I want to hear what you think the lyrics mean.
So bye, bye, Miss American Pie… means to me the innocence and simplicity of the 50’s is gone. This type of music did not carry into the 60’s -
“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”
Many like to think that this might be referencing to Buddy Holly’s wife; perhaps, but I think the “widowed bride“ refers to Jackie Kennedy …
The court jester refers to Bob Dylan
The King and Queen can mean the Kennedy's while in certain parts of the song when the King is mentioned it is most likely Elvis Presley.
Throughout the song, are many bits that can be interpreted as moments in history.
“While the sergeants played a marching tune” - to me sounds like The Beatles….
My favorite line is this:
“I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away”
The girl is of course, Janice Joplin who just smiled and turned away when she died…..
The song is meant to embody a ten year span of a time in history that was turbulent, has been romanticized, demanded many changes and made so many uncomfortable because a truth was revealed…..
“Do you recall what was revealed?
The day the music died?”