Don McLean – American Pie

★★★★

  1. American Pie: 👍🏻
  2. Till Tomorrow: 🤷‍♂️
  3. Vincent: 👍🏻
  4. Crossroads: 👍🏻
  5. Winterwood: 👍🏻
  6. Empty Chairs: 👍🏻
  7. Everybody Loves Me, Baby: 👍🏻
  8. Sister Fatima: 🤷‍♂️
  9. The Grave: 🤷‍♂️
  10. Bablyon: 🤷‍♂️


On this day in 1959 The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa while on tour. It seemed only fitting to listen to Don McLean on The Day the Music Died, given that the phrase became so well know because of American Pie.

Thanks to a beer drinking tradition in my fraternity, I’ve listened to American Pie more times than I can remember (all that beer didn’t help my memory, but mostly I mean the sheer number of times is beyond counting). And because I am a nerd, I sought the album out and listened to it a number of times before today. But I definitely never appreciated it beyond American Pie and Vincent.

Vincent (van Gogh) is maybe the most tragically beautiful song I’ve ever heard (much like the life and art of the song’s subject). That I knew. But what absolutely blew me away listening to the album today was Everybody Loves Me, Baby. In an entire album of depressing tracks it stands out as being sarcastically hilarious. Another stand-out was Empty Chairs. I had been under the impression for a long time that Killing Me Softly With His Song (covered by Fugees on The Score) was a song by Roberta Flack about Don McLean’s Vincent. As with most good stories that’s not true, but it’s close. It turns out that Roberta Flack was covering Lori Lieberman and her song is based on a poem she wrote about Empty Chairs. It occurred to me while I was listening that Empty Chairs and Vincent do sound alike musically. And they’re both beautiful and crazy depressing. It’s easy to see where the confusion came from. At any rate, “Killing Me Softly With His Song is based on a Don McLean song” is still correct. Just not in the way I thought.

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