On this date of February 3 in 1959, a small plane crashed in a cornfield near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing the pilot Roger Peterson along with his famous passengers: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. The three were on “The Winter Dance Party” tour throughout the Midwest, a tour that also included Dion and a young bass player named Waylon Jennings. The tour traveled by bus, but for the trip to Moorhead, Minnesota, the three performers chartered a plane.
In the future, Chimesfreedom plans to revisit more of the story, but for today check out this cool video that someone put together for Don McLean‘s song, “American Pie.” The song is celebrating its fortieth anniversary, as around this time in 1972 following the song’s release a few months earlier on Nov. 27, 1971, the song had climbed the charts so you could not turn on the radio without hearing “American Pie.”
Through the years, McLean has been notoriously vague about specific meanings of the imagery in the song, but it is widely accepted that the opening and refrain of the song centers on his memories of hearing about the death of the three singers in the plane crash. In his memory, he wondered what would happen to rock and roll after such a great loss, which led to an era of Pat Boone and Fabian songs. Of course, now we know, unfortunately, that rock an roll has survived many such losses since then, but these were the early days. Anyway, the video does a good job of explaining some of the imagery, and even if it is not 100% correct about the images, it provides an interesting interpretation to much of the song. Check it out.
What do you think “American Pie” means? What is your favorite song by Buddy Holly or the others? Leave your two cents in the comments.
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