January 1972 – American Pie by Don McLean

January 1972 – a song popular in this month – American Pie by Don McLean

According to McLean (as posted on his website), this song was originally inspired by the death of Buddy Holly.

Interesting facts about American Pie & Don McLean

“The Day The Music Died” is February 3, 1959, when Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash after a concert. McLean wrote the song from his memories of the event (“Dedicated to Buddy Holly” was printed on the back of the album cover).

McLean was a 13-year-old paperboy in New Rochelle, New York when Holly died. He learned about the plane crash when he cut into his stack of papers and saw the lead story.

This song made the 26-year-old McLean very famous very quickly, which was difficult for the songwriter. McLean was prone to depression, losing his father at age 15 and dealing with a bad marriage when recording the album. So when the song hit, it thrust him into the spotlight and took the focus away from the body of his work.

At 8 minutes 32 seconds, this is the longest song in length to hit #1 on the Hot 100. The single was split in two parts because the 45 did not have enough room for the whole song on one side. The A-side ran 4:11 and the B-side was 4:31 – you had to flip the record in the middle to hear all of it.

In 1971, a singer named Lori Lieberman saw McLean perform this at the Troubadour theater in Los Angeles. She claimed that she was so moved by the concert that her experience became the basis for her song “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” which was a huge hit for Roberta Flack in 1973.

This song appears in the films Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Celebrity (1998) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001).

This information was provided by Songfacts.com

20 thoughts on “January 1972 – American Pie by Don McLean

  1. In lieu of parody and satirical sense, weird al sampled this song into the story of star wars geekdom when “the phantom menace” came about in the early 2000.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I never knew all this! It was my brother’s favorite song when we were about 3-4 years-old and he would listen to it (on 8 track tape) over and over again. Thanks for bringing this memory back. Hope you have an amazing day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is one of those songs that we all remember the words! I always enjoy listening to this song – never get tired of it. Thanks Joyce, I appreciate you coming over to visit today – happy day my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember being milk monitor (in my childhood all children were given a 1/3 pint mini bottle of milk at break) with Lizzie and Barbara my turn best friends when we were 11 … Lizzie had an older sister, Sheila, who had bought the 45 and we played it, flipping it in the middle every break time for a whole term as we washed the glass bottles and put them in the crate for collection the next morning when the milkman delivered afresh. To this day I know every word of that song. The memory and the factoids have made my Sunday sing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I had no idea that this song inspired Killing Me Softly. Buddy Holly wrote the song “That’ll Be the Day” after seeing The Searchers. In the movie, it was something John Wayne said several times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is always an interest to me about how songs are created and what the inspiration was. I am glad you stopped by to read and comment Rick, hope you are having a great day! 🙂


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