Monday, October 29, 2018

Don McLean - American Pie (1971)



"American Pie" is a song by American singer and songwriter Don McLean. Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was the number-one US hit for four weeks in 1972 and also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In the UK, the single reached number 2, where it stayed for 3 weeks, on its original 1972 release while a reissue in 1991 reached No. 12. The song was listed as the No. 5 song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century. A truncated version of the song was covered by Madonna in 2000 and reached No. 1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. McLean's combined version is the fourth longest song to enter the Billboard Hot 100, at the time of release it was the longest, in addition to being the longest song to reach number one.

The repeatedly mentioned phrase "the day the music died" refers to the plane crash in 1959 which killed early rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. (The crash was not known by that name until after McLean's song became a hit.) The meaning of the other lyrics has long been debated, and for decades, McLean declined to explain the symbolism behind the many characters and events mentioned. However, the overall theme of the song is the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation as symbolized by the plane crash which claimed the lives of three of its heroes.

In 2017, McLean's original recording was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant"



«American Pie» — фолк-роковая песня, написанная американским автором-исполнителем Доном Маклином для одноимённого альбома в 1971 году. Год спустя эта композиция поднялась на вершину американского хит-парада, где пробыла в течение четырёх недель. Композиция была переиздана в 1991 году, она не попала в американские чарты, но добралась до 12-й строчки в британском хит-параде. В песне поётся о «Дне, когда умерла музыка» — авиакатастрофе 1959 года, в которой погибли Бадди Холли, Ричи Валенс и Биг Боппер. Важность «American Pie» для музыкального и культурного наследия Америки была подтверждена проектом «Песни века», в котором композиция заняла пятое место. Некоторые радиостанции, ориентированные на песни из Top-40, изначально играли только вторую сторону сингла, но популярность песни в конце концов вынудила диджеев ставить её в эфир целиком. «American Pie» является визитной карточкой Дона Маклина.

На 15-й церемонии «Грэмми» песня была выдвинута на соискание награды в категории «Лучшее мужское вокальное поп-исполнение», но проиграла композиции «Without You» Гарри Нилссона. В 2017 году запись была отмечена как «культурно, исторически, и эстетически значимая» и внесена в Национальный Реестр Библиотеки Конгресса США.


Don McLean's second album, American Pie, which was his first to gain recognition after the negligible initial sales of 1970's Tapestry, is necessarily dominated by its title track, a lengthy, allegorical history of rock & roll, because it became an unlikely hit, topping the singles chart and putting the LP at number one as well. "American Pie" has remained as much a cultural touchstone as a song, sung by everyone from Garth Brooks to Madonna, its title borrowed for a pair of smutty teen comedies, while the record itself has earned a registered three-million plays on U.S. radio stations. There may not be much more to note about it, then, except perhaps that even without a crib sheet to identify who's who, the song can still be enjoyed for its engaging melody and singable chorus, which may have more to do with its success than anything else. Of course, the album also included "Vincent," McLean's paean to Van Gogh, which has been played two-million times. Nothing else on the album is as effective as the hits, but the other eight original songs range from sensitive fare like "Till Tomorrow" to the sarcastic, uptempo "Everybody Loves Me, Baby." American Pie -- the album -- is very much a record of its time; it is imbued with the vague depression of the early '70s that infected the population and found expression in the works of singer/songwriters. "American Pie" -- the song -- is really a criticism of what happened in popular music in the '60s, and "Vincent" sympathizes with Van Gogh's suicide as a sane comment on an insane world. "Crossroads" and "Empty Chairs" are personal reflections full of regret and despondency, with the love song "Winterwood" providing the only respite. In the album's second half, the songs get more portentous, tracing society's ills into war and spiritual troubles in "The Grave" and "Sister Fatima." The songs are made all the more poignant by the stately folk-pop arrangements and McLean's clear, direct tenor. It was that voice, equally effective on remakes of pop oldies, that was his salvation when he proved unable to match the songwriting standard set on Tapestry and this collection. But then, the album has an overall elegiac quality that makes it sound like a final statement. After all, if the music has died, what else is there to say?

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