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Don McLean's 

American Pie

American Pie is a song written by Don McLean in the early 1970's. It is an autobiographical journey through the turbulent 1960's with references to the events that  shaped the era. McLean describes in American Pie how his innocence is lost and how he finds that many of the things he was told about the American dream as a child were a lie. This loss of the American dream, which he personifies as  "Miss American Pie",  is the central theme of the song.  This page contains only the words to American Pie.   For an attempted analysis, click here.

(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.



Bye bye Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singing "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?

Now 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 you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancing in the gym

You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm 'n' blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck

But I knew that I was out of luck
The day the music died

I started singing...


(Verse 3)
Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling 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
And 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 Lennon 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 singing...


(Verse 4)
Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with the 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 halftime 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)
And there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again

So Jack be nimble
Jack be quick

Jack flash sat on a candlestick
'Cause 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 in 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 Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing...

Refrain (2x)

For the guitar chords, click on this link;
on the opening page, click on "Misc Tabs" then
scroll down the list of songs on the left side of the screen to American Pie.



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