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    The day the music died



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    It seems to have gone unnoticed here 3 February 1959, Clear Lake, Iowa, United States YouTube
    Last edited by oppy; 03-02-2019 at 22:48.
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    There was a good programme about Buddy Holly on BBC4 last Friday, so not forgotten here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by maingate View Post
    There was a good programme about Buddy Holly on BBC4 last Friday, so not forgotten here.
    Yes, i watched it too.

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    Oxford radio did a half hour slot about the crash, and explained the Don McLean song American pie was written in tribute. Hence the day is now called (The day the music died) which I never knew!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liberty hall View Post
    .... and explained the Don McLean song American pie was written in tribute. Hence the day is now called (The day the music died) which I never knew!!
    There are many web pages claiming to explain the lyrics, but the only bit they all agree on is "the day the music died". People claim the song contains references to Elvis; JFK; the Beatles and lots more.

    When asked what it means Don McLean always says "It means I will never be broke".

    McLean just sold the original manuscript for over a million dollars.

    I've played American Pie a few times in the last week, brilliant on so many levels.


    Don't forget that the Big Bopper & Richtie Valens also died in the crash.
    Waylon Jennings gave his seat up to the Bopper and Valens won the toss of a coin to get his.
    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
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    One of the all time pop greats, without a doubt.
    But the version that still brings tears to my eyes and raises the hairs on the back of my neck, was performed by our own, dear, Splitty, round a smoky fire, on a cold WC meet, at Glebe Farm, Cheshire.
    Anyone remember that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauljenny View Post
    One of the all time pop greats, without a doubt.
    But the version that still brings tears to my eyes and raises the hairs on the back of my neck, was performed by our own, dear, Splitty, round a smoky fire, on a cold WC meet, at Glebe Farm, Cheshire.
    Anyone remember that?
    Didn't see him that time Paul, but he does have a knack of hitting the spot.

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    listened to a show on radio 4...on the anniversary............great music........which i dont think we will hear the likes of again...........brought back lovely memories........such a tragic loss
    where there is hope , there is a dreamer

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    A Closer Look at the Lyrics of “American Pie”

    I think music is for listening to rather than analysing. I readily admit that I don't understand "Whiter shade of pale" and in truth "I want to hold your hand" is complex enough for me.

    But, for anyone who enjoys delving beyond the melody, here is one man’s thoughts on what it all means:-

    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

    Don McLean reflects back on the days of innocence. In an interview with BBC Radio 2 he commented:
    “I still remember this light going off in my head as I was sitting up in my little room writing my songs and thinking about Buddy Holly and just how sad that was and how much I loved that guy, and how much I loved his music and how much I felt for him… I started to write this ‘A long, long time ago’ about how it felt when I was a paperboy and I opened up these papers… and this whole fantasy came out and the song was written”

    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

    On February 3, 1959, a plane crash took the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valenz. McLean’s sentimental disillusionment aside, it was an objectively bad day for rock/pop music; now that these three were gone, who was left? Elvis had been drafted, Chuck Berry was in hot water over a prostitute, and Little Richard had changed his tune, getting away from rock music.
    McLean conveys the feeling he had as a paperboy and seeing the news on the headlines. It is thanks to McLean that this sad day is known as “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

    McLean conveys sadness at the loss of American innocence (a farewell to the all-american apple pie) with imagery of a 1950s farewell party. The lyrics have a double meaning. Don McLean grew up in New York, and he would listen to music and party at “The Levee” in New Rochelle, NY. Sometimes, when The Levee would close (i.e. when the levee was dry), McLean and his friends would drive across the river and scout for places to drink and have fun in Rye, NY.

    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’ {Refrain}

    McLean continues to evoke the good ol’ days with references to “The Book of Love” by the Monotones, and even a Don Cornell hit, “The Bible Tells Me So”. There’s mention of sock hops and perhaps a reference to the Marty Robbins song “A White Sport Coat (with a Pink Carnation)”. The bottom line: we were young, we were pure… then the music died, and so did our innocence.
    The next verse begins McLean’s great decent into veiled meanings, and much debated lyrics…

    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

    Yes, Buddy Holly sang “Well you know, a rolling stone, don’t gather no moss” in his hit “Early in the Morning”; but this is also clearly a reference to The Rolling Stones. Indeed, the bookends of the song are Holly and The Stones. The “ten years” McLean describes are the day the music died (Feb. 1959) and Altamont (Dec. 1969).
    There’s also an additional interpretation. Dylan, who sang “Like a Rolling Stone” – a major break from folk music in 1965 was involved in a motorcycle accident and subsequently laid low for about a year (“moss grows fat”), and many said he’d lost his muse.

    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

    There’s no debate that Bob Dylan is The Jester in this song. Dylan, in a 2017 interview, expressed his dislike for the label: “A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like ‘Masters of War,’ ‘A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,’ ‘It’s Alright, Ma’ – some jester. I have to think he’s talking about somebody else. Ask him.”
    The king and queen reference in the first line are Peter Seeger and Joan Baez, folk music’s royalty before Dylan took center stage. Everyone is familiar with James Dean’s red jacket from Rebel Without a Cause. Dylan is seen wearing a similar coat on the cover the Freewheelin’ album from 1963.
    Dylan steals the “thorny crown” from Elvis. The counter-culture has arrived.

    The courtroom was adjourned
    No verdict was returned

    If you’re going to write a song about the loss of innocence in American, you damn well better mention the Kennedy assassination.

    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’ {Refrain}

    The Beatles arrive on the scene Clearly, Lenin is a play on Lennon, but the correlation to Marx is under debate. Marx, associated with the Communist Revolution, can be linked to Lennon via the song “Revolution” which mentions Chairman Mao. The dirges (funeral songs) possibly reference the tragic deaths of JFK, RFK and MLK.

    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

    McLean references the Manson murders (and continues The Beatles theme with “Helter Skelter”) as well as The Byrds and their song “Eight Miles High” and marijuana (“grass”). McLean again refers to Dylan who is on the sidelines – referencing his above mentioned motorcycle accident.

    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 {Refrain}

    Some have speculated this alludes to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but the consensus is that this is all about the death of traditional rock and roll via The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper brought about the end of rock as we knew it – the sounds of Buddy Holly and Elvis were over, replaced by a new sound that was not exactly made for dancing.

    Oh, and there we were, all in one place
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again

    And here they are, a generation who grew up on “Lost in Space”, now the so-called “Lost Generation” stoned out of their minds, all together at Woodstock. It’s too late to start over, and where do we go from here?

    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 {Refrain}

    And this is where it all goes to hell (literally). Mick Jagger (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”) is the devil compared to those carefree days of Buddy Holly and sock hops. Those innocent days are over. The Stones had released Their Satanic Majesties Request and “Sympathy for the Devil”; the comparison to Satan is easy.
    And now it’s ten years after the day the music died, and Jagger is performing at Altamont where a black man was stabbed and beaten to death by Hell’s Angels. “American Pie” looks at how ugly things have become, and then reflects back ten years ago, when the dark descent began.

    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

    McLean turns to Janis Joplin for hope, but she dies of a heroin overdose on October 4th, 1970. The rhythm and blues are gone, not even sold in the record stores. It seems everyone had forgotten about the great music released in the 1950s.

    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'{Refrain}

    McLean artfully shifts from the turmoil and pain of the day (children screaming – rioters, protesters) back to the plane crash. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost likely also refers to JFK, RFK, and MLK, but McLean is clearly circling back to the day the music died.
    “Killing Me Softly With His Song” was composed after Lori Lieberman saw McLean perform the song- which testifies to its power, and “American Pie” is every bit as enigmatic and stirring as it was back in 1971. While every word hasn’t been fully deciphered, the overall message of a generation’s disillusionment is crystal clear. Cover versions by Madonna and The Brady Bunch not withstanding, “American Pie” remains one of the most culturally significant songs of the twentieth century.
    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by r4dent View Post
    I think music is for listening to rather than analysing. I readily admit that I don't understand "Whiter shade of pale" and in truth "I want to hold your hand" is complex enough for me.

    But, for anyone who enjoys delving beyond the melody, here is one man’s thoughts on what it all means:-

    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

    Don McLean reflects back on the days of innocence. In an interview with BBC Radio 2 he commented:
    “I still remember this light going off in my head as I was sitting up in my little room writing my songs and thinking about Buddy Holly and just how sad that was and how much I loved that guy, and how much I loved his music and how much I felt for him… I started to write this ‘A long, long time ago’ about how it felt when I was a paperboy and I opened up these papers… and this whole fantasy came out and the song was written”

    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

    On February 3, 1959, a plane crash took the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valenz. McLean’s sentimental disillusionment aside, it was an objectively bad day for rock/pop music; now that these three were gone, who was left? Elvis had been drafted, Chuck Berry was in hot water over a prostitute, and Little Richard had changed his tune, getting away from rock music.
    McLean conveys the feeling he had as a paperboy and seeing the news on the headlines. It is thanks to McLean that this sad day is known as “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

    McLean conveys sadness at the loss of American innocence (a farewell to the all-american apple pie) with imagery of a 1950s farewell party. The lyrics have a double meaning. Don McLean grew up in New York, and he would listen to music and party at “The Levee” in New Rochelle, NY. Sometimes, when The Levee would close (i.e. when the levee was dry), McLean and his friends would drive across the river and scout for places to drink and have fun in Rye, NY.

    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’ {Refrain}

    McLean continues to evoke the good ol’ days with references to “The Book of Love” by the Monotones, and even a Don Cornell hit, “The Bible Tells Me So”. There’s mention of sock hops and perhaps a reference to the Marty Robbins song “A White Sport Coat (with a Pink Carnation)”. The bottom line: we were young, we were pure… then the music died, and so did our innocence.
    The next verse begins McLean’s great decent into veiled meanings, and much debated lyrics…

    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

    Yes, Buddy Holly sang “Well you know, a rolling stone, don’t gather no moss” in his hit “Early in the Morning”; but this is also clearly a reference to The Rolling Stones. Indeed, the bookends of the song are Holly and The Stones. The “ten years” McLean describes are the day the music died (Feb. 1959) and Altamont (Dec. 1969).
    There’s also an additional interpretation. Dylan, who sang “Like a Rolling Stone” – a major break from folk music in 1965 was involved in a motorcycle accident and subsequently laid low for about a year (“moss grows fat”), and many said he’d lost his muse.

    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

    There’s no debate that Bob Dylan is The Jester in this song. Dylan, in a 2017 interview, expressed his dislike for the label: “A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like ‘Masters of War,’ ‘A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,’ ‘It’s Alright, Ma’ – some jester. I have to think he’s talking about somebody else. Ask him.”
    The king and queen reference in the first line are Peter Seeger and Joan Baez, folk music’s royalty before Dylan took center stage. Everyone is familiar with James Dean’s red jacket from Rebel Without a Cause. Dylan is seen wearing a similar coat on the cover the Freewheelin’ album from 1963.
    Dylan steals the “thorny crown” from Elvis. The counter-culture has arrived.

    The courtroom was adjourned
    No verdict was returned

    If you’re going to write a song about the loss of innocence in American, you damn well better mention the Kennedy assassination.

    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’ {Refrain}

    The Beatles arrive on the scene Clearly, Lenin is a play on Lennon, but the correlation to Marx is under debate. Marx, associated with the Communist Revolution, can be linked to Lennon via the song “Revolution” which mentions Chairman Mao. The dirges (funeral songs) possibly reference the tragic deaths of JFK, RFK and MLK.

    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

    McLean references the Manson murders (and continues The Beatles theme with “Helter Skelter”) as well as The Byrds and their song “Eight Miles High” and marijuana (“grass”). McLean again refers to Dylan who is on the sidelines – referencing his above mentioned motorcycle accident.

    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 {Refrain}

    Some have speculated this alludes to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but the consensus is that this is all about the death of traditional rock and roll via The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper brought about the end of rock as we knew it – the sounds of Buddy Holly and Elvis were over, replaced by a new sound that was not exactly made for dancing.

    Oh, and there we were, all in one place
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again

    And here they are, a generation who grew up on “Lost in Space”, now the so-called “Lost Generation” stoned out of their minds, all together at Woodstock. It’s too late to start over, and where do we go from here?

    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 {Refrain}

    And this is where it all goes to hell (literally). Mick Jagger (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”) is the devil compared to those carefree days of Buddy Holly and sock hops. Those innocent days are over. The Stones had released Their Satanic Majesties Request and “Sympathy for the Devil”; the comparison to Satan is easy.
    And now it’s ten years after the day the music died, and Jagger is performing at Altamont where a black man was stabbed and beaten to death by Hell’s Angels. “American Pie” looks at how ugly things have become, and then reflects back ten years ago, when the dark descent began.

    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

    McLean turns to Janis Joplin for hope, but she dies of a heroin overdose on October 4th, 1970. The rhythm and blues are gone, not even sold in the record stores. It seems everyone had forgotten about the great music released in the 1950s.

    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'{Refrain}

    McLean artfully shifts from the turmoil and pain of the day (children screaming – rioters, protesters) back to the plane crash. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost likely also refers to JFK, RFK, and MLK, but McLean is clearly circling back to the day the music died.
    “Killing Me Softly With His Song” was composed after Lori Lieberman saw McLean perform the song- which testifies to its power, and “American Pie” is every bit as enigmatic and stirring as it was back in 1971. While every word hasn’t been fully deciphered, the overall message of a generation’s disillusionment is crystal clear. Cover versions by Madonna and The Brady Bunch not withstanding, “American Pie” remains one of the most culturally significant songs of the twentieth century.
    Wow, thank you for that, I'm unsure as to its accuracy but it certainly puts things into some kind of perspective for me anyway. Thank you once again for the work that you put into this
    Be the best that you can, without causing pain to others
    Likes Scrag, peter palance liked this post
    Thanks Pauljenny, REC, peter palance thanked for this post

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