Song of The Week: “American Pie” by Don McLean

Today, Song Of The Week is hopping into a time capsule: we’re going back to 1971, when a songwriter named Don McLean composed what many people believe is one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll songs ever: “American Pie.” Noted for its anthemic, instantly memorable chorus: “Bye, bye, Miss American Pie / Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry / And good ‘ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye / Singing ‘This’ll be that day that I die’ / ‘This’ll be the day that I die.'” The bulk of the songs consists of an abstract, stream-of consciousness flow of lyrics, spanning a broad series of images that describe various situations relating to “The Day The Music Died,” which refers to the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper in a plane crash. It’s almost trite to even try to interpret this song or understand what exactly McLean was trying to tell us – every image, every word, points to a nostalgia, a love of music that is as true as any love has ever been. The song is at times joyous, at times heart-wrenching, and at all times full of love. Once again, it seems trite to try to interpret the song. Justice will be served only if we simply put the song on, and sing along to the chorus and try to feel the joy that McLean feels at the old time rock ‘n’ roll that all subsequent music in the genre is indebted to.


About Ryan Felder

My name is Ryan. I like music. On this blog, I post the setlists for my radio show, Art For Art's Sake, as well as reviews of the latest new independent music and a Song Of The Week, every week. You can listen to my radio show on 90.3 The Core, an independent student-run college radio station broadcasting from Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. My show runs Thursday nights from 12am-2am and streams live on the internet at View all posts by Ryan Felder

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