The Day The Music Died, American Pie, & Bobby Vee

On February 3, 1959, a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson.

The day was later called The Day the Music Died by Don McLean, in his song "American Pie".

Monument for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson

American Pie is a folk rock song by American singer-songwriter Don McLean. Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was a number-one U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972. The song is a recounting of "The Day the Music Died" – the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. The song was listed as the number five song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century. "American Pie" is Don McLean’s signature song.

The song is well known for its cryptic lyrics that have long been the subject of curiosity and speculation. Although McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Buddy Holly, none of the musicians in the plane crash are identified by name in the song itself. When asked what "American Pie" meant, McLean replied, "It means I never have to work again." Later, he more seriously stated, "You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me… sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence."

** Recommended Visit:
"Bob Dearborn’s Original Analysis of Don McLean’s 1971 Classic "American Pie"
23 minutes of RealAudio file available

References in the song

Notable references are based on interpretations of the song by Bob Dearborn and Jim Fann.

    * Ritchie Valens
    * The Big Bopper
    * Buddy Holly – The Day The Music Died
    * The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost
    * María Elena Holly – his widowed bride
    * "(Who Wrote) The Book of Love" – The Monotones
    * "Lonely Teenager" – Dion
    * "A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)" – Marty Robbins
    * Bob Dylan – the jester on the sidelines in a cast.
    * Elvis Presley – the King
    * Connie Francis or Queen Elizabeth II – the queen
    * James Dean
    * Lenin – However, Official Lyrics show this to be John Lennon, a play on words
    * Karl Marx or Groucho Marx
    * Jerry Moss – "moss grows fat on a Rolling Stone"
    * The Beatles – The Quartet
    * "Helter Skelter" – a Beatles song used by Charles Manson
    * The Byrds – "Eight Miles High"
    * "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" – (The Marching Band) – The Beatles – (sergeants played a marching tune)
    * Woodstock Festival – "There we were, all in one place"
    * The Space Race – "A generation lost in space"
    * The Rolling Stones – Jack Flash and "moss grows fat on a Rolling Stone"
    * Mick Jagger – Satan laughing with delight
    * Hells Angels at the Altamont Free Concert – "No angel born in hell"
    * Janis Joplin or Billie Holiday – Girl Who Sang the Blues
    * Fillmore East or The Fillmore – the sacred store

Singer Bobby Vee was 15 years old on The Day the Music Died.  Vee and a hastily-assembled band of Fargo, North Dakota, schoolboys calling themselves The Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee’s career as a popular singer.

Again, I recommend you to visit this page and listen to original analysis in RealAudio format.
"Bob Dearborn’s Original Analysis of Don McLean’s 1971 Classic "American Pie"