The secrets of Don McLean’s American Pie revealed in new documentary

The song has been covered by a plethora of artists including Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi and John Mayer.

Don McLean

Image: Jason Kempin / Getty

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We’re pretty sure everyone and their dog has heard Don McLean’s American Pie, even those who aren’t musicians themselves can sing at least one verse or chorus from the humungous hit.

It’s a song that people have devoured over and pulled apart for decades in attempts to truly understand its meaning and it’s been covered by a multitude of artists such as Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi and John Mayer.

For the first time ever in a new documentary titled The Day The Music Died, McLean himself gives a detailed analysis on the track and a line-by-line deconstruction of its lyrics. The documentary’s producer Spencer Proffer said, “I told Don, ‘It’s time for you to reveal what 50 years of journalists have wanted to know,’” reports The Guardian.

The documentary explores the tragic event of a plane crash which took the lives of everybody on board, including McLean’s musical hero, Buddy Holly alongside Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson in 1959. This event which McLean named as “the day the music died” led him to write the folk rock ballad, where he also told the larger story of chaos in the States such as rioting, the assassination of President John F Kennedy and the war with Vietnam.

In the documentary, the song’s producer Ed Freeman states, “For me, American Pie is the eulogy for a dream that didn’t take place… We were witness to the death of the American dream.” McLean added, “The country was in some advanced state of psychic shock… All this bedlam and riots and burning cities.”

You can watch the trailer below:

The Day The Music Died is streaming now on Paramount+, you can watch it here.

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