Bye Bye, American Pie By Don Mclean

When I first heard American Pie, it was many years after it had been a hit, yet it was still played almost non-stop within the group of tweens that I hung out with. My best friend at the time was going around, yes that’s what we called it, with a boy who I also thought was cute. But best friends came first, so I had accepted when his younger brother asked me to “go around!” lol

My tweens were not the best of times for me. On top of the usual insecurities and misgivings of that age, I was also a very proper British girl trying to fit in with the cool Canadian kids.

Don Mclean’s song really hit a chord with me for some reason. I never saw the video or movie that accompanied it, so I had only my own very loose interpretation.

The parts that I loved best were:

The first stanza about music making you smile and being happy. And overall I loved how the rest of the song brought me thoughts of freedom, God, faith, and love, (my young interpretation of it) with the slow dancing in the gym.

It just all fit where I was in my life at the time. Which is what all great songs are about anyway, right?

Here’s the original full-length video.

Here are the lyrics, courtesy of AZ Lyrics:

“American Pie”

[Intro]
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 whileBut February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more stepI can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died[Chorus:]
So bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and 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 bluesI was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died

[Chorus:]
I started singing bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

[Verse 2]
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 Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

[Chorus:]
We were singing bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

[Verse 3]
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 halftime 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?

[Chorus:]
We started singing bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

[Verse 4]
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

[Chorus:]
He was singing bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

[Outro]
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

[Chorus:]
And they were singing bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

[Chorus:]
They were singing bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye
And singin’ this’ll be the day that I die

 

I found this great video by Don McLean explaining the real meaning behind his song. It’s fascinating. Check it out.

I hope you enjoyed this, Photos, (Videos) And Songs, post, from down 70’s memory lane.