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 in 1971 on the album of the like name, the single was the number-one US hit for four weeks in 1972 starting January 15 [ 2 ] after equitable eight weeks on the US Billboard charts ( where it entered at number 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 release 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 version of the song 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 unite version is the sixth long birdcall to enter the Billboard Hot 100 ( at the time of release it was the longest ). The song besides held the record for about 50 years for being the longest sung to reach number one [ 4 ] before Taylor Swift ‘s “ All Too Well ( 10 Minute Version ) “ broke the commemorate in 2021. [ 5 ] ascribable to its exceeding length, it was initially released as a bilateral 7-inch single. [ 6 ] “ American Pie ” has been described as “ one of the most successful and debate songs of the twentieth century ”. [ 7 ]

The recur idiom “ the day the music died “ refers to a plane crash in 1959 that killed early rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, ending the era of early on rock and roll ; this became the popular nickname for that crash. The theme of the song goes beyond mourning McLean ‘s childhood music heroes, reflecting the deep cultural changes and profound disenchant and loss of artlessness of his generation [ 7 ] – the early rock and roll generation – that took rate between the 1959 plane crash and either late 1969 [ 8 ] or deep 1970. [ 9 ] [ 10 ] The meaning of the other lyrics, which cryptically allude to many of the jarring 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 significant ”. [ 11 ] To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the song, McLean is scheduled to perform a 35-date enlistment through Europe, starting in Wales and ending in Austria, in 2022. [ 12 ]

background [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 birdcall in both Cold Spring, New York, [ 14 ] and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [ 15 ] McLean claims that the song was merely 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 song was inaugural 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 birdcall ‘s eight-and-a-half-minute length meant that it could not fit entirely on one side of the 45 RPM criminal record, then United Artists had the inaugural 4:11 taking up the A-side of the record and the concluding 4:31 the B-side. Radio stations initially played the A-side of the song only, but soon switched to the full moon album translation to satisfy their audiences .

Interpretations [edit ]

The sense of disenchantment and loss that the birdcall transmits international relations and security network ’ metric ton good about deaths in the earth of music, but besides about a generation that could no farseeing believe in the utopian dream of the 1950s … According to McLean, the song represents a switch from the naïve and innocent ‘ 50s to the dark ten of the ‘ 60s

Alva Yaffe, Musicholics, [ 7 ]

Don called his song a complicated parable, open to different interpretations. “ People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity. Of naturally I did. I wanted to make a whole series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the state of society at the time. ”, [ 19 ]
The song has nostalgic themes, [ 20 ] stretching from the late 1950s until former 1969 or 1970. Except to acknowledge that he beginning learned about Buddy Holly ‘s death on February 3, 1959 – McLean was historic period 13 – when he was folding newspapers for his newspaper route on the morning of February 4, 1959 ( hence the channel “ February made me shiver/with every paper I ‘d deliver ” ), McLean has by and large avoided responding to direct questions about the song ‘s lyrics ; he has said : “ They ‘re beyond analysis. They ‘re poetry. ” [ 21 ] He besides stated in an editorial 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 sung as outlining the darken of cultural mood, as over clock time the cultural avant-garde passed from Pete Seeger and Joan Baez ( the “ King and Queen ” of folk music music ), then from Elvis Presley ( known as “ the King ” of Rock and Roll ), to Bob Dylan ( “ the Jester ” ) – who wore a jacket alike to that worn by cultural picture James Dean, was known as “ the articulation of his generation ” ( “ a voice that came from you and me ” ), [ 23 ] and whose motorcycle accident ( “ in a cast ” ) left him in reclusion for many years, recording in studios rather 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 to early people [ 6 ] ), to The Byrds ( who wrote one of the foremost psychedelic rock candy 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 concisely 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 black consequences, bringing the 1960s to a violent end [ 24 ] ), and to Janis Joplin ( the “ girl who sang the blues ” but equitable “ turned away ” – she died of a heroin overdose the following class ). It has besides been speculated that the song contains numerous references to post- World War II American political events, such as the character assassination of John F. Kennedy ( known casually as “ Jack ” ) and subsequent kill of his assassin ( whose court test obviously ended as a result ( “ adjourned ” ) ), [ 25 ] the Cuban Missile Crisis ( “ Jack be agile, Jack be quick ” ), [ 26 ] the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, [ 27 ] and elements of polish such as sock hops ( “ kicking off shoes ” to dance, preventing damage to the stained floor ), cruising with a cartridge truck, [ 25 ] [ 28 ] the rise of the political protest song ( “ a voice that came from you and me ” ), drugs and the counterculture, the Manson Family and the Tate–LaBianca murders in the “ summer swelter ” of 1969 ( the Beatles ‘ song “ Helter Skelter “ ) and much more. [ 6 ] many extra and alternative interpretations have besides been proposed. For exemplar, Bob Dylan ‘s first base 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 ) cast ” – 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 march tune ” ). [ 26 ] The song style itself is a reference to apple pie, an unofficial symbol of the United States and one of its signature consolation 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 jokingly replied, “ It means I do n’t ever have to work again if I do n’t want to. ” [ 31 ] late, 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 dignified silence. ” [ 32 ] He besides commented on the popularity of his music, “ I did n’t write songs that were precisely catchy, but with a charge of view, or songs about the environment. ” In February 2015, however, McLean announced he would reveal the mean of the lyrics to the song when the original manuscript went for auction in New York City, in April 2015. [ 33 ] The lyrics and notes were auctioned on April 7, 2015, and sold for $ 1.2 million. [ 34 ] In the sale catalogue notes, McLean revealed the think of in the song ‘s lyrics : “ basically in ‘American Pie ‘ things are heading in the improper 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 catalogue confirmed some of the better-known references in the song ‘s lyrics, including mentions of Elvis Presley ( “ the baron ” ) and Bob Dylan ( “ the jester ” ), and confirmed that the sung climaxes with a description of the death of Meredith Hunter at the Altamont Free Concert, ten years after the plane crash that killed Holly, Valens, and Richardson. [ 35 ] Mike Mills of R.E.M. reflected : “ ‘American Pie ‘ good made perfect smell 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 classical that is a identical gamey bat median and if one of those songs happens to be something that a great many people think is one of the greatest songs always written you ‘ve not only hit the top of the mountain but you ‘ve stayed high on the mountain for a long prison term. ” [ 36 ] In 2017, Bob Dylan was asked about how he was referenced in the song. “ A jester ? surely, 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 ]

Musicians [edit ]

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

technical [edit ]

  • Photography/ artwork – George Whiteman[40]

Charts [edit ]

Certifications [edit ]

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 item of see. While McLean gave license for the parody, he did not make a cameo appearance in its video, despite popular rumor. McLean himself praised the parody, even admitting to about singing Yankovic ‘s lyrics during his own know performances because his children played the birdcall so often. [ 59 ] [ 60 ] An unrelated comedy film franchise by Universal Pictures, who secured the rights to McLean ‘s title, besides debuted in 1999. [ 61 ] “ american Pie ” was the death birdcall to be played on Virgin Radio before it was rebranded as Absolute Radio in 2008. [ 62 ] It was besides the death song played on BFBS Malta in 1979.

In 2012, the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, created a brim dub video to “ American Pie ” in reply to a Newsweek article that stated the city was “ dying ”. [ 63 ] ( Due to licensing issues, the translation used in the video recording was not the original, but preferably a later-recorded exist version. ) The video was hailed as a antic performance by many, including film critic Roger Ebert, who said it was “ the greatest music video always made ”. [ 64 ] On March 21, 2013, Harmonix announced that “ American Pie ” would be the concluding downloadable track made available for the Rock Band series of music video games. [ 65 ] 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 Pi ” by mathematics education professor Dr. Lawrence M. Lesser. [ 66 ] The contest was in honor of “ Pi Day of the Century ” because “ 3/14/15 ” would be the only day in the 21st-century showing the foremost five digits of π ( pi ). On April 20, 2015, John Mayer covered “ american english Pie ” live on the Late Show with David Letterman, at the request of the show ‘s eponymous master of ceremonies. [ 67 ] On January 29, 2021, McLean released a re-recording of “ American Pie ” featuring go vocals by country a cappella group Home Free. [ 68 ] The song is featured in Marvel ’ s Black Widow movie, directed by Cate Shortland and starring Scarlett Johansson, released on July 9, 2021. [ 69 ] It is Black Widow ( Yelena Belova ) ‘s favorite birdcall. The song was besides sang by Red Guardian later in the film trying to comfort Yelena. [ 70 ] “ american Pie ” is besides featured in the 2021 Tom Hanks movie Finch. [ 71 ]

Madonna translation [edit ]

backdrop [edit ]

American singer Madonna released a screen interpretation of the song in February 2000 to promote the soundtrack of her film The Next Best Thing ( 2000 ), with the sung being serviced to radio on February 2. [ 73 ] Her cover is much shorter than the original ( it contains only the begin 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 pronounce, after Rupert Everett ( Madonna ‘s co-star in The Next Best Thing ) had convinced her to cover the sung for the film ‘s soundtrack. [ 74 ] It is included as an international bonus path on her one-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 certain record caller executive twisted my sleeve into doing, but it did n’t belong on the album so now it ‘s being punished … My gut told me not to [ put the song on Music ], but I did it and then I regretted it so just for that reason it did n’t deserve a station on GHV2. ” she said. [ 75 ] [ 76 ]

Release and reception [edit ]

Released on February 28, 2000, [ 77 ] the song was a worldwide stumble, reaching No. 1 in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Finland. The song was the 19th-best-selling single of 2000 in the UK and the one-ninth best-selling unmarried 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 receiver airplay. Chuck Taylor from Billboard, was impressed by the recording and commented, “ Applause to Madonna for not pandering to today ‘s irregular trends and for challenging programmers to broaden their playlists. … In all, a ticket preview of the approaching soundtrack to The Next Best Thing. ” [ 78 ] Peter Robinson of The Guardian called the cover as “ brilliant ”. [ 79 ] Don McLean himself praised the cover, saying it was “ a giving from a goddess ”, and that her version is “ mystic and sensual ”. [ 80 ] NME, on the other hand, gave it a negative review, saying that “ Killdozer did it first and did it better ”, that it was “ sub-karaoke ruffle ” and that “ it ‘s a consecrate she did n’t bother recording the wholly thing. ” [ 81 ] In 2017, the Official Charts Company stated the song had sold 400,000 copies in the United Kingdom and was her 16th best selling unmarried to date in the nation. [ 82 ]

music video [edit ]

The music video, filmed in the southern United States and in London [ 83 ] and directed by Philipp Stölzl, depicts a diverse array of ordinary Americans, including scenes showing same-sex couples kissing. Throughout the music video Madonna, who is wearing a tiara on her capitulum, dances and sings in movement of a large american flag. Two official versions of the television were produced, the beginning of which now appears on Madonna ‘s greatest-hits DVD compilation, Celebration, and was released as the official television worldwide. The second version was issued along with the “ Humpty Remix ”, a more wellbeing and dance-friendly version of the sung. This video recording 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 sung, is besides featured in the video .

Formats and track listings [edit ]

  • Digital single[84]
  1. “American Pie” – 4:34
  2. “American Pie” (Richard Humpty Vission Radio Mix) – 4:29
  3. “American Pie” (Victor Calderone Vocal Club Mix) – 9:07
  4. “American Pie” (Richard Humpty Vission Visits Madonna) – 5:43
  5. “American Pie” (Victor Calderone Extended Vocal Club Mix) – 10:36
  6. “American Pie” (Victor Calderone Vocal Dub Mix) – 6:15
  7. “American Pie” (Victor Calderone Filter Dub Mix) – 6:06

Credits and personnel [edit ]

Credits and personnel are adapted from the American Pie single liner notes. [ 85 ]

Charts [edit ]

Certifications and sales [edit ]

See besides [edit ]

References [edit ]

further read [edit ]

Lyric interpretations and analysis

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

source :
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