American Pie Lyrics

American Pie

Don McLean

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Original and covers


American Pie Lyrics

A long long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper, I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

So bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Did you write the Book of Love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so
Do you believe in rock n’ roll
Can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow
Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancing in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm & blues
I was a lonely, teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singing

Bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the Jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat, e borrowed from James Dean
In a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the King was looking down
The Jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practised in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singing

Bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the Jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the Sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died
We started singing

Bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Oh, and there we were, all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devils only friend
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
And as flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singing

Bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singin’

||: Bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die :||

And they were singing
Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die


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American Pie – Step 1

It’s time to discover how one of the world’s most legendary songs was put together.

Let’s put Don McLean’s American Pie under the microscope, we start with the chorus.

Go to American Pie Step 1.


American Pie – Step 2

In this step, we work on the (very) long chord progression that is American Pie’s verse.

Instead of memorizing it, aim to hear the movement of the chords by imagining the melody.

Go to American Pie Step 2.


American Pie – Step 3

In this step, we look at the intro and the seemingly identical outro.

This is played in free time, meaning you slow down and speed up for extra emotional effect.

Go to American Pie Step 3.


American Pie – Step 4

Let’s play the entire song, all 8:46 of it along with me and a singer.

See this as me holding your hand as we play it. In the next step we start working on a 2nd guitar part, that way we can start a band.

Go to American Pie Step 4.


American Pie – Step 5

Let’s apply a capo and play as if in the key of C.

We start with the chorus as this is the easiest part of the song to play.

Go to American Pie Step 5.


American Pie – Step 6

In this step, we work out how to play the verse using a capo, thinking in the key of C.

Aim to sync this with the first guitar which is supplied as a loop for your practicing pleasure.

Go to American Pie Step 6.


American Pie – Step 7

This is the most difficult step, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sync this with the “original” intro and outro.

The loops are played to a click in order to make this possible.

Go to American Pie Step 7.


American Pie – Step 8

We’ve come to the end of this American Pie dissertation. I’m going to give you a chart in the key of C, without rhythms.

The question is, can you make it work along with me and the singer?

Go to American Pie Step 8.


Related Pages


Chords

American Pie’s chords can be tricky to remember since the same chords seem to be repeated in lots of different ways.

By hearing each chord as a number you can follow the vocal melody and don’t actually have to memorize the progression.

Go to American Pie Chords.


Biography

don-mclean-thumbDon McLean is an American singer-songwriter most famous for his ’71 songs American Pie and Vincent.

When McLean’s indie label Media Arts got sold to United Artists, he got an unexpected chance to make his second album for a major label.

Go to Don McLean Biography.


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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

Go to Monthly Subscription.