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