… but I digress

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Random Memory: American Pie September 21, 2012


 

One summer, when I was young – I think it was the summer I ventured over to AM radio and discovered The Beatles – I heard American Pie by Don McClean. That summer, I think – possibly that whole next year – I made it my mission to learn the words to this aural masterpiece.

 

I can remember singing it out loud, my tongue tripping over every verse. I didn’t even know what any of it meant. Didn’t know the story it told, the history of the imagery conjured in my mind, but I didn’t even care.

 

I was so proud when I could finally sing each verse along with Don McClean and jam along with my screechy caterwauling. Now on the rare occasion I hear it, it is imperative that I stop what I’m doing and try to sing each line exactly as I did that long ago summer.

 

I’m a little rusty but I manage to do it pretty well. There may be a momentary tongue trip here and there but I get right back in the groove with it. Still gives me a good feeling when I hold my own and chills when hear it.

 

   

   

 

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**


[Chorus]


Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey in Rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die


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 and 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 and 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’


[Chorus]


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 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’


[Chorus]


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 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 singin’


[Chorus]


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 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
He was singin’


[Chorus]


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 singing


[Chorus: Repeat x2]

 

   
American Pie

The Day the Music Died

Understanding “American Pie”

   

 

2 Responses to “Random Memory: American Pie”


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