American Pie singer Don McLean talks about the true meaning of his 50-year-old song

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“American Pie” singer Don McLean has been singing his classic for 50 years.

McLean recently spoke with Fox News Digital and shared the compliment he received from country music legend Garth Brooks, which is featured in a new documentary ‘The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s’ American Pie'”.

The project, which will premiere on Tuesday Paramount+, focuses on McLean and his verse “the day the music died.”

“He said it was probably one of the greatest songs in music history,” McLean explained. “And he says a lot of wonderful things in the film. And it’s a very personal expression of his love for the song, going back to when he was a little boy. He thinks the song is kind of a parallel to his career and his life in music that somehow the song got him into this.”

Singer-songwriter Don McLean writes the iconic song

Singer-songwriter Don McLean writes the iconic song ‘American Pie’ circa 1970 in this image from his personal photo collection.
(Don McLean Archive Collection)

Of the phrase, McLean said, “Well, the day the music died, is a metaphor for death, of course, but for the death of the spirit, music is the equivalent of death. spiritual life.”

“And so, you know, if the music dies, the spirit dies,” he added, before sharing the melody’s meaning. “And so every verse of ‘American Pie’ adds another layer of the story that happened the day the music died. It’s all poetic, really. It’s not prose, you know, it’s is meant to be taken in metaphorical terms. A lot of this song, like a lot of songwriting.”


“The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s ‘American Pie'” streams exclusively on Paramount+.


McLean then talked about what went into the making of “American Pie”.

Don McLean plays

Don McLean performs “American Pie” for his 50th birthday at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper performed on February 3, 1959.
(© Morling Manor Music Corp)

You know, I think the documentary is going to be fun, and so is the song. I’ve wanted to talk about the lyrics for 50 years, and I’ll probably do it in a real way that I really explain how it all happened, and you saw how much negativity I had to overcome,” McLean said. “The musicians couldn’t play the song, the producer didn’t think I had any talent and I chose him. You know, the song was eight and a half minutes long and you never get a listen. And that’s just a lot of mountains that had to be climbed to get this thing where people can hear it.”

As for having one of the most iconic songs in music history?


“Well, I’m proud, and I think my family is proud. And I think my dad and my mom or my mom was very proud.” McLean said.

“My dad didn’t know anything about what happened to me. But I think but, you know, their pride is a dangerous thing in a way. I just think it’s if I make people happy, if I give them insight into maybe a couple of things, if I put them into rock and roll, if I put them into folk music, if I put them into a bit of American cultural history,” McLean said .

“And I’m glad, you know, it’s making my life interesting. I’m glad I did. It’s the start of a journey. You have to start being interested in something before you really start, you know, And I don’t think most music introduces someone to something like that. That’s what makes ‘American Pie’ unique and amazing.

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