BIZ360 VIDEO: Don McLean Performs ‘American Pie’ During Cocoa Beach Seafood & Music Festival

By  //  March 4, 2017


ABOVE VIDEO: One of America’s greatest song writers, Don McLean, wrote American Pie, which has become one of the USA’s most well known songs. Mclean will perform all of his award-winning songs on Friday, February 24, at the Cocoa Beach Seafood & Music Festival. (Biz360Tours Media video)

Don McLean Among America’s Most Enduring Singer-Songwriter Mega-Stars

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Don McLean, one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriter mega-stars, was a featured performer at the Cocoa Beach Seafood & Music Festival on February 24 at the oceanfront Shepard Park.

His award-winning songs include classic hits like “Starry Starry Night,” “Castles in the Air,” “And I Love You So” and “Crying.”

However, it is the iconic, elegiac ballad “American Pie” that fascinated us by its mysterious lyrics and became an anthem for an entire generation.

One of the most discussed, dissected and debated songs that popular music has ever produced, “American Pie” became a cultural event at the peak of its popularity in 1972 and reached the top of the Billboard 100 charts in a matter of weeks, selling more than 3 million copies.

What set the eight-minute-long “rock and roll American dream,” with its cryptic references to 50s innocence, the turbulent 60s, and 70s disillusion, apart from other songs was the way we weren’t entirely sure what the song was about, provoking endless debates over its epic cast of characters.

This was no ordinary pop song.

We sang along for sure, partly because of the illusionary lyrics and captivating melody, but also for the unmistakable emotional resonance that McLean baked into a story about a moment in the American experience in which something had been lost, and we knew it.

It wasn’t until the now 71-year old architect of “American Pie” put his original manuscript of 16 pages of handwritten notes containing the inspirations behind his “Song of the Century” up for auction in April of 2015 that we got a glimpse of what was behind the six enigmatic verses.

The manuscript for “American Pie” sold for $1,205,000 at Christies’ auction rooms, New York, making it the third highest auction price achieved for an American literary manuscript.

When people asked Don McLean why he decided to put the manuscript up for sale, he admitted that there was no ideological motivation or romance behind the decision and likes to say: “It means I never have to work again.”

In an interview with People Magazine, Mclean said, “I was around in 1970 and now I am around in 2015. There is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie.’ ”

Don McLean is  one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriter mega-stars.

However, it also seemed important to him to impart some sage advice to other artists related to lyrical thought process when he said:

“I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song “American Pie” so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game. It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music and then was fortunate enough through the help of others to make a successful recording. I would say to young songwriters who are starting out to immerse yourself in beautiful music and beautiful lyrics and think about every word you say in a song.”

The sale of the “American Pie” manuscript may well have been a financial windfall for McLean, but with over 150 gigs a year he certainly hasn’t stopped working.

The enduring “American Pie” lyrics speak directly to the state of society over three decades of the 20th century through a whole series of complex allusions and statements.

The song’s cast of characters, which include a quartet of young troubadours, a jester, a king, a queen, good ol’ boys drinking whiskey and rye as well as “Miss American Pie” herself, and many more were meant to represent real people.

There are multiple “American Pie” interpretation sites and sources. Just Google “American Pie Lyrics.” Then get ready for a mid-20th century history lesson.

Here are the lyrics for you to contemplate before coming out to sing along with Don Mclean at the Cocoa Beach Seafood & Music Festival at Alan Shepard Park on Friday evening, February 24 – hope to see you there:

Verse 1
A long long time ago
I can still remember how that 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 a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
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 levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Verse 2
Did you write the Book of Love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so
Do you believe in rock n’ roll
Can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow
Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm & blues
I was a lonely, teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin’


Verse 3
Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the Jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
In a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the King was looking down
The Jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singin’


Verse 4
Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the Jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the Sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died
We started singing


Verse 5
Oh, and there we were, all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devils only friend
Oh, 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 flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singing


Verse 6
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d 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 they were singin’


Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die

They were singin’
Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die