The Day The Music Died

(Gibson) In 2001, one of radio's greatest hits, "American Pie" was ranked in fifth place on the Recording Industry Association of America's Songs of the Century list. It was beaten only by "Over the Rainbow," "White Christmas," "This Land is Your Land" and "Respect."

"American Pie," is an epic, surreal ballad inspired by Buddy Holy's death in a plane crash in 1959. It's also an autobiographical account of growing up in America in the '50s and '60s and struggling to deal with the tremendous social changes that threatened to blow America apart.

The song was written by a young, well-to-do songwriter called Don McLean. His first album, Tapestry, was standard confessional troubadour stuff of the time. But then he came up with a song that started out very personal and wound up an anthem that spoke as much about America as it did a musician from Westchester County, New York. more on this story

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