Song of the Day: Don McLean – “American Pie”

On this day 45 years ago, Don McLean’s famous “American Pie” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song stayed atop the charts for four weeks until it was unseated by another classic, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. McLean didn’t reveal the meaning behind the song until its lyrics sold for over $1 million in a 2015 auction. “People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity,” McLean said, per the New York Times. “Of course I did. I wanted to make a whole series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the state of society at the time.” In another quote, McLean said, “Basically in ‘American Pie,’ things are heading in the wrong direction. It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.” The song also reached No. 1 in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand… a fraction of the countries Madonna’s bouncy 2000 cover hit No. 1 in. That cover was somewhat polarizing, but McLean said he was a fan of it.

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