Thursday, December 1, 2011

Turn Up the Sound - Where Don McLean Really Wrote and First Sang American Pie

American Pie Album Cover Art
Last weekend Don McLean debunked a couple of decades old myths about where the song American Pie was actually written and where it was first performed.

Popular folklore has it that American Pie was written at a bar called the Tin & Lint in Saratoga Springs, NY, but according to McLean, he penned the lyrics to the epic ballad in 1970 in Cold Springs, NY and Philadelphia. McLean also said that, despite rumors to the contrary, he first performed the song at Temple University.

Reading about American Pie made me want to hear the song again, so in case you're now yearning for it too, I'm linking a YouTube clip below that has the song and a photo montage that does a nice job of speculating about the meaning of the lyrics. I didn't think I'd stick around for the whole 9 minutes of the video, but the images are like a cultural history lesson. Besides, once I hit the chorus a couple of times, I was in it until the end.

Try not to tap your feet and sing along - I dare you.

Viewing Tip: Click the title bar at the top of the clip to view in a larger window.


  1. Cool video--of course, now I'm running late to work!

    Love the song, but for years I've been confused about the intent. I always thought each verse was a description of "the death of rock and roll," a phrase that gets thown around a lot. But after each verse, the music keeps going, so I was never sure if this was about the day the music died, or an ode to the resilience of the music.

  2. Cindy - I read where Don McLean was quoted as saying it was a song "about America." Of course, a big part of that woud me rock and roll music, especially from his perspective. Oh well, at least we know where he sat when he wrote it.