Friday, July 29, 2011

...the day the music died...






Don McLean's 1971 song "American Pie" seemed to define and give a voice to a generation.  For years there has been debate on the meaning of McLean's cryptic lyrics - and I suppose we have all come to our own conclusions after having listened to it for 40 years.

After watching talking heads debating the sad state of affairs in Washington (that could create a sad state of economic crisis throughout the world), I found myself spontaneously humming Don McLean's iconic tune.   As the lyrics floated through my head I couldn't help wonder if they not only defined and had meaning for one generation, but were now somehow prophetically describing another.   

I have taken the liberty of only sharing parts of the song that I feel apply to the current crisis ...  See what you think.

I realize some of you may legitimately counter that as a Canadian, I should mind my own business and not make pronouncements about the situation south of our border.  Would that it were none of my business!  For as the economy goes in the U.S. so go the economies (national and personal) of the rest of the world.  The world is watching in dismay and consternation because we all have a stake in the resolution of this political and economic crisis.

(Four dots at the end of a stanza indicates there are stanza(s) that are about to be omitted.  Bolding was added by me.)



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....

So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ 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 rollin’ 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 of marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die.".....

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the 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 singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."....

....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 they were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ 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 old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."




12 comments:

  1. its one of those songs that is so familiar...we sang it before we even knew what it meant...

    nice pic...like the angel and dove...wonder what it would be like if you pulled her just a bit off the border...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Brian! Good suggestion. I took it and it does look better now. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have no problem with you as a Canadian commenting on the sorry state of affairs here. god knows, it's a huge mess.

    even so, I have never liked that song. have never understood why it was so popular.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bonnie, I don't know what is going on here. We seem hellbent on a mission of self-destruction, full steam ahead. Unfortunately, our lunacy effects the whole world, so you have every right to comment on our sorry state of affairs. The song is apt.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One of the few songs I know by heart, and so appropriate for the current state of affairs in the U.S. government.

    Sandra said it best regarding this "mission of self destruction." My brain is having a very hard time understanding why and how this is happening. Just makes me more vocal about WHY people should vote!

    Great post, Bonnie.

    xo
    Gwynnie

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are rightfully dismayed, Bonnie, and your comments are most welcome. Sadly, we are witnessing the destruction of my country by a small faction of ignorant, uneducated, and dogmatic extremists. Bye bye, Miss American Pie — and bye, bye to that quaint concept of democracy. The United States is an oligarchy and a plutocracy — government by the rich for the rich. And by the way, we can also say bye bye to that other quaint concept that we are a Christian nation. I have no desire that we be a Christian nation, of course, because I greatly value the separation of church and state. Still, I think it is the height of hypocrisy for these "Christian" conservatives to saddle the costs of government on those who can least afford it, while protecting the fortunes of the very wealthy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. just like a raindrop falling, the ripples may be and many times are, far reaching - so i cannot imagine anyone taking issue with someone else's concern over such a globally-impacting situation - that caring should be cherished - in terms of these lyrics, how absolutely fitting they are - and how astute of you to put them together - a great post -

    ReplyDelete
  8. I find it amazing how polarized our government is right now. I have my own opinions about this situation, which are too long-winded for this little comment box, but I do appreciate your thoughts. Every generation has its crises to bear. Seems we've had more than our share.

    ReplyDelete
  9. First off - that photo is exquisite!

    Secondly, my husband and I are waiting with bated breathe if the government will approve the budget - it could directly affect us and my husband's pension - or lack thereof. He was a government employee for 33 years and his pension might not come in on the first of the month.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I so well remember that song when I was in college. We all had believed that the "music" had already died by then. I think the recent cultural meltdown is just the death rattle of a place that has long-ago seen it's best days. Our leaders, on both sides, represent our decline well. Ironically, the republic still spews out the appropriate representatives.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Interesting insight into Mclean's song.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This American thinks you have every right to post what you see and how you feel about the circus that is American politics in our time. After all, folks in the rest of the world are being held hostage to the ignorance of a small bunch of demagogues as much as we are. And yet, one must keep on keeping on somehow. So here is a story. My almost-six year old grandson is in the US this summer staying with us. He lives in Hong Kong, son of my son and his Chinese mother. He's going to his first day camp this summer, and he is loving it. Although he is fluent in English as well as Mandarin, many of the cultural influences go over his head a bit. He comes home every day singing the Oldies they sing at the beginning and end of each day. My favorite is when he belts out, "Bye, bye Mr. American Guy!...." Out of the mouths of babes. Yet it makes me laugh every time--and I think that is good.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are always read and appreciated.

(I am grateful for all awards received. However, I ask that this be an "award-free zone" and meme-free zone. Thanks for understanding!)