Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Don McLean question

DigiTrad:
AMERICAN PIE
AMERICAN PIE--PROGRAM NOTES
CRYING
VINCENT (STARRY, STARRY NIGHT)


Related threads:
Don McLean's wife files for divorce (41)
Don McLean - American Pie MS - $1.5 million (8)
Don McLean on PBS tonight (6)
Chords Req: Winterwood (Don McLean) (10)
Lyr/Chords Req: Everybody Loves Me Baby (D McLean) (2)
Chord Req: Superman's Ghost (Don Mclean) (2)
Don McLean's Birthday (2 Oct 1945) (8)
Tune Req: Castles in the Air (Don McLean) (9)
Lyr Req: Castle In the Air (Don Mclean) (4)
Don Mclean song lost (10)
Lyr Req: Homeless Brother (Don McLean) (13)
Lyr Req: And I Love You So (Don McLean) (4)
Is Don Mclean a folkie??? (45)
Lyr/Chords Req: Everybody Loves Me Baby (D McLean) (1) (closed)
Lyr/Chords Req: Winterwood (Don McLean) (5)


kendall 05 Nov 09 - 09:41 AM
BobKnight 05 Nov 09 - 09:49 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Nov 09 - 09:50 AM
Mr Happy 05 Nov 09 - 09:50 AM
Greg F. 05 Nov 09 - 09:50 AM
Deckman 05 Nov 09 - 10:21 AM
Hollowfox 05 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 09 - 11:11 AM
billhudson 05 Nov 09 - 12:02 PM
Tug the Cox 05 Nov 09 - 12:17 PM
DonMeixner 05 Nov 09 - 01:16 PM
Stringsinger 05 Nov 09 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Ian Gill 05 Nov 09 - 04:08 PM
Tangledwood 05 Nov 09 - 04:24 PM
Bob Hitchcock 05 Nov 09 - 04:33 PM
Mick Woods 05 Nov 09 - 04:33 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Nov 09 - 05:16 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Nov 09 - 05:16 PM
Bob Hitchcock 05 Nov 09 - 05:37 PM
Bill H //\\ 05 Nov 09 - 06:04 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Nov 09 - 08:02 PM
Tootler 06 Nov 09 - 06:04 PM
pdq 06 Nov 09 - 07:43 PM
kendall 06 Nov 09 - 08:10 PM
Bill H //\\ 07 Nov 09 - 05:18 PM
MissouriMud 08 Nov 09 - 12:19 PM
Smedley 09 Nov 09 - 08:45 AM
autoharpbob 09 Nov 09 - 10:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Nov 09 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 09 Nov 09 - 12:55 PM
MikeT 09 Nov 09 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Allan Connochie 09 Nov 09 - 03:04 PM
catspaw49 28 Nov 11 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,banjopicker 28 Nov 11 - 07:07 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Don McLean question
From: kendall
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 09:41 AM

A good friend of mine wants to know what McLean had in mind when he wrote American Pie. Who, what was he saying? I'm not a fan so I have no idea. Thoughts?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: BobKnight
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 09:49 AM

Even Don McClean won't say - it's all specualation, and that's probably half the fun.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 09:50 AM

When someone once asked him what American Pie meant, he said it meant he'd never have to work again.

Google it. Loads of entertaining stuff on the meaning of it all!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 09:50 AM

..........perhaps he'd not eaten for a while?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 09:50 AM

February 3, 1959. The plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 10:21 AM

I recall reading the same explaination as "Greg F" just posted. bob(deckman)Nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Hollowfox
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM

There was a thread on this in 2000 that has everything from annotations of the lyrics' meanings to the origin story I heard when I was living in Saratoga Springs (where it was written). Just put "American Pie" in the search box and set the Wayback for "all".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 11:11 AM

There are articles online and elsewhere that give extensive analyses, breaking the lyrics down line by line and even word by word, but these are ,of course, little more than figments of the imaginations of the various writers. There isn't any question, though, that the introductory verse ("A long, long time ago...")refers to Buddy Holly's death.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: billhudson
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 12:02 PM

If you listen carefully in the back ground vocals that is Pete singing.
I was living around Beacon,NY at the time and Don use to play for us for the Clearwater festivals. That is where I met Henry The Fiddler and he did a great version of American Pie with Don,never will forget it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 12:17 PM

In the early 70's, in Amsterdam, pamphlets by 'Moses David' a self proclaimed prophet, had pamphlets claiming it had deep meaning christian messages in it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: DonMeixner
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 01:16 PM

"American Pie" is said to be the name of the Beachcraft Bonanza that Holly, Vallenz, and Richardson were flying in. The plane is also known as a Doctor Killer by some plane pilots because it was fast, affordable by some(Doctor's and Lawyers), sexy looking, and it wasn't forgiving.

I always thought of the song as a nostalgic time line of music after the death of Buddy Holly. Crique Alley by The Momma's and The Poppas had a similar feel altho' it only documents the history of Mom and Pops.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 03:47 PM

He refers to different periods of pop-rock music history.
1. "Book of Love" by Phil Spector
2. Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Richie Valens (In those days they didn't drug but drank)
3. Bob Dylan (about the clown part)
4. Altamont (mentions Jumping Jack Flash and anger and Stones)
5. Nostalgia for how it was so nice and simple and uncomplicated then it
      got crazy in the Sixties and Seventies.
Each stanza contains references to how rock progressed.

Of course Don doesn't want to give away the store. Otherwise would you listen to it and try to figure it out?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: GUEST,Ian Gill
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 04:08 PM

If your friend enjoys musical riddles get him/her a copy of 'The Last Damm Song In The World' by Bill Caddick. I think Bill's stlii offering a liquid reward to anyone who can identify all the references in that one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Tangledwood
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 04:24 PM

The plane is also known as a Doctor Killer by some plane pilots because it was fast, affordable by some(Doctor's and Lawyers), sexy looking, and it wasn't forgiving.

Hmmm, never heard it given that title before and I used to be a part-owner of a V-tail Bonanza. Certainly, it is fast enough for an inexperienced pilot to get into trouble with, just as an inexperienced driver can in a high powered car.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 04:33 PM

I heard that someone once asked Don Mclean what the song meant, he replied "it means I never have to work another day in my life".

I like that answer.

Bob.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Mick Woods
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 04:33 PM

There is a fantastic analysis of American Pie verse by verse in our own digitrad resource See here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 05:16 PM

I've just has a deja vu. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 05:16 PM

had


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 05:37 PM

Sorry Steve, that's what I get for not reading all the posts that have gone before.

Bob.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Bill H //\\
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 06:04 PM

Well, to me it always symbolizes the death of JFK---I know it is about Holly, et al---but still it sets that mood for me---Bye Bye American Pie---though that probably happened after HST left office. The world has changed.

Still- great song and, yes, never having to work again happens to most songwriters who create the one big hit of their lives. Many are honest to admit it ---as is Don M.



Bill Hahn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 08:02 PM

One big hit? What about this then? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h9ARdPHSBg&feature=related


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 06:04 PM

American Pie,
Vincent
And I Love You So
Castles in the Air
The Grave...

Hmmmm... Not bad for a one hit wonder :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: pdq
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 07:43 PM

On The Amazon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: kendall
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 08:10 PM

Ok folks. I know as much now as I did when I posted this question!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Bill H //\\
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 05:18 PM

Sure he had other hits---but like some other writers there is always 1 song that is always a signature piece---I believe his comment about not having to work again amplifies that.

Bill Hahn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: MissouriMud
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 12:19 PM

Basically just a song about the simple exuberant youthful innocence (both in terms of the times and the youth of those times) of the post WW2 1950's including its very early rock and roll, and the end of that simplicity, exuberance,youth and innocence as life and the music changed, as a factor of growing up with the issues of Civil rights, drugs, Viet Nam etc, with the start of the change symbolized in the song by the loss of several great artists in the 1959 plane crash.   A wonderful set of poetic images of American culture of the 1959 - 1969 decade, many of which probably have several references - but its a heck of a lot of fun, whether you try and analyze them to death or just let them flit by.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: Smedley
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 08:45 AM

I recall that on the 7-inch vinyl single version, it faded out after a few verses/choruses & you had to flip it over to the B-side to pick up the rest of the story. You wouldn't have *that* experience with a CD !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: autoharpbob
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 10:55 AM

I know a lady who was in the folk club where Don McLean first aired American Pie. She told him she liked it - but it was too long! Much what the radio stations said too!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 11:11 AM

If she thought it was too long, she didn't really like it. It only works the way it should when it's all there.

MissouriMud is right, it's about a generation.

The references are just the building blocks. You could have every last reference neatly pinned down, but if you didn't understand the overall story you wouldn't have heard the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 12:55 PM

Some of us were brought up on Crackerjack   CRACKERJACK!

A Don McLean question was usually phrased thus..

McLean?

Yes, I had a bath this morning....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: MikeT
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 01:06 PM

When Bruce Phillips was in Saratoga for his penultimate time, for a gig at Lena's with the Rose Tatoo, I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours walking around our old haunts with him. The wife of one of the Tatoos was with us, sorry I can't remember her name, and Bruce was recalling old times, old friends, and just telling outrageous stories. I knew they were all true, because I was present for most of them back in the day. One of the best of them involved Don McLean and American Pie. Apparently, after a gig, Don, Bruce and others eventually found their way to the Tin and Lint on Caroline Street. Everyone was very drunk, and Don lay down on a table and passed out while everyone else continued doing what we all did back then. When it was time to leave, Bruce woke Don up, and noticed a bunch of napkins with writing on them scattered about. Bruce thought they might be something Don would want, so he gathered them up and gave them to Don the next morning at Lena's apartment where they were all staying. Bruce recalled that Don had no recollection of writing on the napkins, and what was written there was American Pie. So, if this story is true, who knows what Don was thinking when he wrote it? I personally believe this, all the other stories Bruce told that day were true, and he certainly had no reason to make this one up.

Mike


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: GUEST,Allan Connochie
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 03:04 PM

"One hit wonder"

I think it is right that American Pie is his signature tune but in the UK it wasn't his biggest hit. It got to number 2 in the charts whilst both Vincent and his cover of Crying got to number 1


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 02:57 PM

One more post in the category of Don McLean and "American Pie" crap that doesn't really matter a ratshit:

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Don McLean says "American Pie" was written in Philadelphia, not the upstate New York bar that has long laid claim to it.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls (http://bit.ly/s2VIMR ) says the 66-year-old singer and songwriter tells the newspaper that contrary to local lore, he didn't write the song on cocktail napkins at the Tin and Lint in Saratoga Springs. He also says the first time he performed the song wasn't at Caffe Lena (LEE'-nuh), a famous coffeehouse around the corner from the bar.

McLean says he wrote "American Pie" in Philadelphia and performed it for the first time at Temple University.

"American Pie" hit No. 1 in the Billboard charts in late 1971.



Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Don McLean question
From: GUEST,banjopicker
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 07:07 PM

I think it means a wide mojoirty of things Buddy Holly,Big Bopper Plane crash, JFK. The the world of rock and some of the things that went on during the period. I also think that it was his attempt at writing a topical song. He was one of Lee Hays ( weavers) helpers when Lee's health got to bad to do some of the things around his house ect


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 September 3:34 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.