American Pie, Don Maclean

 

American Pie
 Don Maclean

 A long, long time ago
 I remember how the music used to make me smile
 And I knew if I had my chance
 that I could make those people dance
 and maybe they'd be happy for awhile

 But February made me shiver
 with every paper I'd deliver
 bad news on the doorstep
 I couldn't take one more step

 

 And I can't remember if I cried
 When I read about his widowed bride
 But something touched me deep inside
 The day the music died

 So Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie,
 Drove My chevy to the levy, but the levee was dry.
 Them good ole boys are drinking whiskey and rye,
 singing This'll be the day that I die

 Did you write the book of love,
 and do you have faith in God above,
 Because the Bible tells you so?

 And do you believe in Rock and Roll,
 can music save your mortal soul?
 And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

 And I know that you're in love with him,
 'cause I saw you dancing in the gym,
 you both kicked off you shoes
 and I dig those rhythm and blues.

 I was a lonely teenaged broncin' buck
 with a pink carnation and a pick-up truck
 but I knew that I was out of luck
 the day the music died

 I started singing, Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie,
 Drove My chevy to the levy, but the levee was dry.
 Them good ole boys are drinking whiskey and rye,
 singing This'll be the day that I die.

 For 10 years we were on our own
 and moss grows fat on a rolling stone
 but that's not how it used to be

 The jester danced for the king and queen
 in a coat he borrowed from James Dean
 and a voice that came from you and me

 And as the king was looking down
 the jester stole his thorny crown
 the court room was adjourned
 no verdict was returned

 As Lenin(*) read a book on Marx
 the quartet practiced in the park
 and we sang dirges in the dark
 the day the music died

 And we were singing, Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie,
 Drove My chevy to the levy, but the levee was dry.
 Them good ole boys are drinking whiskey and rye,
 singing This'll be the day that I die.

 Helter skelter in the summer swelter
 Birds flew off with the fallout shelter
 8 miles high and falling fast
 and it fell on the grass

 the players tried for a forward pass
 with the Jester on the sidelines in a cast
 the half-time air was sweet perfume
 the sergeants played a marching tune
 and we all got up to dance
 but we never got the chance

 The players tried to take the field
 the marching band refused to yield
 do you recall what was revealed
 the day the music died?

 And we were all in one place
 a generation lost in space
 with no time left to start again

 Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
 Jack Flash sat on a candle stick
 Cause the fire is the devil's only friend
 And as I watched him on the stage
 My hands were clenched in fists of rage

 No angel born in hell
 could break that Satan's spell
 And as the flames climbed high into the night
 to light the sacrificial rite
 I saw Satan laughing with delight
 The day the music died

 I met a girl who sang the blues
 and I asked her for some happy news
 she just smiled and turned away

 I went down to the sacred store
 where I heard the music years before
 but the Man there said the music wouldn't play
 And in the streets the children screamed,
 the lovers cried and the poets dreamed
 But not a word was spoken
 the Church bells all were broken.

 And the three men I admire most
 the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
 they caught the last train for the coast
 the day the music died.

 And we were singing, Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie,
 Drove My chevy to the levy, but the levee was dry.
 Them good ole boys are drinking whiskey and rye,
 singing This'll be the day that I die.

 


       *According to Don MacLean's site, that lyric should be "Lenin read a book on Marx" although numerous people have e-mailed me to tell me it's "Lennon read a book on Marx." For an interesting interpretation of the lyrics, which Don refuses to explain, see The Straight Dope. Personally I believe it's supposed to be "Lennon read a book on Marx", since the song is supposedly set at the time of the death of Buddy Holly, which would have been in the early days of the Beatles, while Lennon was indeed experimenting with a lot of ideas, including socialism. I'm sure Lenin must have read Marx as well, but probably much earlier.

Added August 24, 2004

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