Analyzing The Song 'American Pie' By Don Mclean

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Gary Monroe Song Analysis 11/25/14 Professor Guerin The song that I chose for my Song Analysis is “American Pie” by Don McLean. The song was written in 1971, but some believe that McLean began to write it as early as 1969. The song has been discussed ever since it was released, and there are many theories as to what each line means. Although “American Pie” may initially seem like it contains no real meaning, the song carries much meaning and tells the story of music over an entire decade. Upon listening to “American Pie” for the first time, I saw the song as a man trying to tell his story about how time has passed and things have changed. More specifically how music has changed over a period of time. Although I did see a message the first…show more content…
“the sacrificial rite” most likely refers to the man who was stabbed to death after approaching the stage with a gun. 2. The “flames climbed high into the night” could be a reference to many things, but I believe it is referring to the violence that had happened, which was sparked by the Rolling Stones. At some point the violence became too much, and the band was flown out by helicopter - “the flames climbed high into the night”.3 3. “Satan laughing with delight” probably refers simply to Jagger and the way that he essentially started the violence with music and refused to make an attempt to end it. 4. “the day the music died” shows that this concert was the last day of an era. Something new had begun, and the old ideologies had been thrown away. These are my conclusions after researching the song in depth. In my research I found that there are many different theories as to what the song means, even if it seems pretty clear at first. The song is very interesting and doing research on it has entirely changed my perspective on it. Now it is clear that the song is about how a generation was being lost, and the old ways of optimism and following the rules were being thrown out and replaced by rebellion and…show more content…
I used two sites like this because the two are very different. The second site ( seems to be more like someone's interpretation who knows history relatively well, has not done research on the song, but rather explains his own interpretation of the lyrics. Bibliography Fann, Jim. "Introduction." Understanding American Pie. November 1, 2002. Accessed November 21, 2014. "The Altamont Festival Brings the 1960s to a Violent End." Accessed November 21, 2014. Kalrath, Jim. ""American Pie" Lyrics - What Do They Mean?" "American Pie" Lyrics - What Do They Mean? July 28, 1999. Accessed November 21, 2014. "Don McLean Finally Explains What The Heck "American Pie" Is All About For 40th Anniversary Celebration." KEARTH 101. July 22, 2011. Accessed November 21, 2014.

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