American Pie

American Pie by Don McLean is one of the most analyzed songs of all time. It's lyrics have been said to refer to the 1968 Democrat Convention, the Kennedy assassination, the Manson murders,  and all sorts of other things. These can all be debated, but the song is certainly also about the history of rack and roll. The day the music died is the day the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper went down. The Jester is widely said to be Bob Dylan, the King is obviously Elvis, the girl who sang the blues is likely Janis Joplin. The marching band is almost definitely the Beatles, Jack Flash I believe has been confirmed to be Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones by McLean himself. One reference that seems clear to me but I have only seen mentioned in a parody article, is the line Lenin read a book on Marx. I think this is referring to the movie A hard Day's Night, and means John Lennon and Groucho Marx. But that's not what this is about. This is about a confirmed nod to musical history hidden in plain sight (or sound as it were) in the song that I am sure almost everyone listening to it has missed. Like I said earlier, the song is about the history of rock and roll (even if it is also about other, more important things). As a nod to the technical advancements made during that history, the song starts out in mono and gradually moves into stereo, because the music that was made in 1959 (the year of the day the music died) was recorded in mono but as stereo was introduced and became more popular by 1969 (the year of Altamont and the murder of Meredith Hunter, which is obviously the subject a one of the last verses of the song) when most recordings were made in stereo.


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