Don Mclean – American Pie: A Metaphorical Look Into Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Evolution


Published by on July 27, 2015

Don McLean - American PieDon Mclean wrote a timeless classic with American Pie, a song that will be sung by drunken hooligans in pubs, at wedding receptions, and at half-time events at various sports shows for decades to come. The song is rather hard to decipher if you aren’t 100% sure what Don Mclean was going for.

Essentially, the day the music died references the plane crash that took the lives of legendary musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J P “Big Bopper” Richardson. This is the most common known reference in the song – the day the music died. That fateful plane crash that occurred on February 3rd, 1959 literally changed the scope of music forever. However, what most people probably don’t know, is that the entire song is sprinkled with metaphorical figures meant to represent various, highly influential musicians of varying genres that rose to prominence during the aftermath of the Day the Music Died.

Moss grows fast on a rolling stone is a reference to The Rolling Stone’s rise to prominence, the moss likely referencing the money they quickly accrued. The girl that sang the blues towards the end of the song is commonly thought of as a reference to vocalist Janis Joplin. The king refers to Elvis Presley, while the jester (and the voice of you and me) refers to Bob Dylan. Still others thing the marching band who refuses to yield references the Beatles and their unparalleled rise to musical power and prominence, with another Beatles reference occurring with the Helter Skelter lyric.

American Pie by Don Mclean
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