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Friday, March 31, 2006 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

What is Don McLean talking about in his song "American Pie"?

Don McLean put it best when he said, "You will find many 'interpretations' of my lyrics but none of them by me. Isn't this fun?" And fun it has been for those who've attempted to demystify "American Pie." Many claim it tells the story of McLean's life in the '50s and '60s. Weaving together memories of Woodstock, the Kennedys, and rock
'n' roll, "American Pie" may immortalize a turbulent time in U.S. history.

McLean eventually acknowledged that his song was a tribute to the late Buddy Holly and the metamorphosis of music after his death. This in-depth FAQ explains -- "American Pie" refers to rock 'n' roll music, which fell apart on February 2, 1959, ("the day the music died") with the plane crash that killed Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens ("the three men I admire most"). The allusions don't stop there. Bob Dylan is supposedly the jester "who sang for the King and Queen," and "the girl who sang the blues" could be no other than soulful Janis Joplin.

McLean's lyrical flare affected more than just his casual fans. He was the inspiration behind Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly."

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