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The day the music died

By Staff | Apr 4, 2014

My trusty Pandora played “American Pie” this week and I must admit, I sang along with every word. I may be dating myself, but I remember playing the 45 of that song (which had to be played first one side and then the other). But wait, what is a 45? Oh, let’s not go there.

Anyway, when I listened to the song in the 1970s, I didn’t have any idea of all the “meanings: to the lyrics. Only years later did my husband and I spend hours talking about what references were made and who was who in the song.

Come to find out, there are many who have researched and written about the lyrics. I think anyone who knows the song knows that the reference to the “day the music died” is to Feb. 3, 1959 when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash. Sadly, Don McLean’s touch on the “widowed” bride was Holly’s widow who was pregnant at the time of his death and later miscarried.

But going further into the long, long song, there are words depicting everyone from Bob Dylan (the jester) to the Beatles (Lennon) and James Dean. Having been fascinated by the Charles Manson story, the “Helter Skelter” line always catches my ear. I have read the book that details the Tate/LaBianca murders several times.

Don McLean is quite the song-writer with six verses plus the refrain of the song that all have individual meanings. If you’re curious, visit www.whrc-wi.org/americanpie.htm and check out what at least one researcher has found about American Pie. For those with less interest, but who still enjoy the music of a classic musician, pull out the old 45 and play (that is if you still have a turntable available for the old vinyls. If not, you can always borrow mine)!