♫ American Pie ♫

I haven’t posted music posts much of late … actually only one or two in the last 4-5 months, I think … but today, February 3rd, cried out for me to post one.  Why, you ask?  Because it was 63 years ago today that a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa took the lives of 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 17-year-old Ritchie Valens, and 28-year-old J. P. Richardson, aka: “The Big Bopper” as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson.

Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper (left to right)

Buddy Holly’s band was on tour and had played at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.  They were headed to their next destination in Moorhead, Minnesota.  For this leg of their journey, they decided to take a charter plane rather than go with their tour bus. Richardson “The Big Bopper”,  had swapped places with Waylon Jennings, taking the latter’s place on the plane and Tommy Allsup had lost his place to Ritchie Valens in a coin toss.

Not long after takeoff, they were no longer able to be reached by radio, and they did not reach their destination. The aircraft was reported missing. The next day, the wreckage was found less than 6 miles northwest of the airport in a cornfield.  Poor weather conditions and pilot error were determined, during the investigation, to have been the cause of the pilot losing control of the plane.

“The day the music died” is a line in the 1972 Don McLean hit American Pie. McLean’s song, which he wrote in the late 1960s and released in 1971, was in part inspired by the tragic event which took the lives of three great musicians and their pilot.

Don McLean was a 13-year-old paperboy in New Rochelle, New York on that fateful day. He learned about the plane crash when he cut into his stack of papers and saw the lead story.

According to McLean …

“For some reason I wanted to write a big song about America and about politics, but I wanted to do it in a different way. As I was fiddling around, I started singing this thing about the Buddy Holly crash, the thing that came out (singing), ‘Long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.’

I thought, Whoa, what’s that? And then the day the music died, it just came out. And I said, Oh, that is such a great idea. And so that’s all I had. And then I thought, I can’t have another slow song on this record. I’ve got to speed this up. I came up with this chorus, crazy chorus. And then one time about a month later I just woke up and wrote the other five verses. Because I realized what it was, I knew what I had. And basically, all I had to do was speed up the slow verse with the chorus and then slow down the last verse so it was like the first verse, and then tell the story, which was a dream. It is from all these fantasies, all these memories that I made personal. Buddy Holly’s death to me was a personal tragedy. As a child, a 15-year-old, I had no idea that nobody else felt that way much. I mean, I went to school and mentioned it and they said, ‘So what?’ So I carried this yearning and longing, if you will, this weird sadness that would overtake me when I would look at this album, The Buddy Holly Story, because that was my last Buddy record before he passed away.”

And so, today I present for your listening pleasure and remembrance …

American Pie
Don McLean

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
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 ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ 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 and 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 dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and 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 singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ 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 he borrowed from James Dean
And 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 Lennon read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died
We were singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ 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 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 singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
And singin’ 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 devil’s 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 the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin’

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ 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 singing

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

They were singing
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die

Songwriters: Don McLean
American Pie lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ MacArthur Park ♫

I was working on another music post for tonight, but the more I researched the background, the more in-depth it became, and … long story short, I got tired and wanted to go to bed.  So, I’m taking a shortcut (again) and re-posting one of the very first ones I ever posted when I first started my music posts.  In fact, though, for some reason this one has been in my head for several days now anyway.  When last I played this, back in July 2018, Ellen commented that her favourite version is Donna Summer’s.  I still prefer Richard Harris, but hey … I try to please everyone, so tonight I have added Ms. Summer’s version as well.


This one should be familiar to those of my generation both in the U.S. and across the pond, for in 1968 it hit #2 on the U.S. charts and #4 in the UK.  It reached the #1 spot in both Australia and Canada, however. Others have recorded this song, including country singer Waylon Jennings and Donna Summer, but I’ve always been partial to the Richard Harris version.  Not the most cheerful song, perhaps, but it suits my mood tonight … ♫ Someone left the cake out in the rain ♫  …  just be thankful you don’t have to listen to me singing it!

MacArthur Park
Richard Harris/Donna Summer

Spring was never waiting for us, dear
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no

I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground beneath your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing Chinese checkers by the trees

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left my cake out in the rain
And I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no, oh

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jimmy Webb
Macarthur Park lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

MacArthur Park

This one should be familiar to those of my generation both in the U.S. and across the pond, for in 1968 it hit #2 on the U.S. charts and #4 in the UK.  It reached the #1 spot in both Australia and Canada, however. Others have recorded this song, including country singer Waylon Jennings and Donna Summer, but I’ve always been partial to the Richard Harris version.  Not the most cheerful song, perhaps, but it suits my mood tonight … ♫ Someone left the cake out in the rain ♫  …  just be thankful you don’t have to listen to me singing it!

MacArthur Park
Richard Harris
Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love’s hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You’ll still be the one
I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
Oh, after all the loves of my life
I’ll be thinking of you
And wondering why
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
Oh no
No
Oh no!
Songwriters: Adrian Drover / Jimmy Webb
MacArthur Park lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group