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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Default "The Day The Music Died."

    This is a continuation of a thread I started on Don McLean's signature classic "American Pie."

    Once again, on a tv show I was watching tonight, somebody has declared that the day the music died was February 3, 1959.
    For example:

    The Day the Music Died, dubbed so by a lyric in the Don McLean song "American Pie", is a reference to the deaths of rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 3, 1959. Pilot Roger Peterson was also killed.
    The Day the Music Died - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It's easy to imagine that this will be the interpretation that will stand forever and ever.

    Sorry, but Wikipedia is wrong.

    The day the music died was definitely December 6, 1969, the day of the Rolling Stone's Altamont free concert, mentioned in verse 4 of Don McLean's song.
    The Altamont Festival brings the 1960s to a violent end — History.com This Day in History — 12/6/1969

    How do I know this? Simply by analyzing the lyrics to "American Pie."
    Ihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pie_(song)

    Here is verse 4 of this amazingly symbolic poem:

    Oh, and there we were all in one place
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again.
    So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
    Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
    'Cause fire is the devil's only friend.

    Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage
    No angel born in Hell
    Could break that Satan's spell.

    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died.

    Most if not all interpretations of these lyrics point to the Altamont free concert as McLean's source of inspiration. For example:
    "American Pie" Lyrics - What Do They Mean? (explanation of verse 6)
    The Straight Dope: What is Don McLean's song "American Pie" all about? (references Mick Jagger Altamont)
    Understanding American Pie - Interpretation of Don Mclean's epic song to the passing of an era. (..."and ending near the tragic concert at Altamont Motor Speedway.")
    and on and on...

    So how did February 3, 1959 become the "day the music died"? This interpretation goes back to the first verse - and the fact that Don McLean dedicated his signature song to Buddy Holly. However, the dedication certainly can't stand as proof. After all, there's no other hero in the song to dedicate it to, unless you count the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of the final verse.

    Why Buddy Holly then, and not the other two singers who died on the same day in 1959? The other two singers are not found in any lyrics, whereas Buddy Holly is mentioned indirectly here:

    "I can't remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride"

    Buddy Holly left behind a widow who was pregnant with Holly's child.

    The next part of that verse, however, is the most telling clue as to the identity of 'the day the music died' -
    "But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died."

    (To be touched deep inside is to be emotionally stirred - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/touched definition 1.)

    Putting the stanza back together, we have:
    "I can't remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died."

    In this stanza, McLean has created a contrast between two events using the third line as a bridge:
    "BUT something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died."

    If the day the music died was the same day as Holly's death, McLean would not need to put the word "but" in there to indicate a contrast. It's that simple.

    But the REALLY simple answer is merely to assume that the song obviously references the date of Holly's death. That interpretation is not only simple, it is simple-minded. It seems to reflect some very early 1970s efforts to interpret this difficult song, resulting in an interpretation which stuck probably because nobody had yet figured out that the song's climactic (and by far its most dominating) verse refers to the 1969 Altamont concert which resulted in the death of Meredith Hunter, the concert itself symbolizing the death of music itself.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Here are some weird and/or irrelevant interpretations of this song:
    "American Pie" Lyrics - What Do They Mean?
    "But something touched me deep inside"
    Interpreter remarks: "I don't even wanna know!"
    (This interpreter doesn't know what that line means, and doesn't even "wanna know!" Why not? The line itself doesn't reference anything like being given a finger-wave by a proctologist. Perhaps it was just a very bad joke.)

    Understanding American Pie: Verse 1
    The interpreter does not do a line-by-line, but takes a more holistic (and horrible) approach. Even Mr. Finger-butt in the interpretation above did a better job.

    The Straight Dope: What is Don McLean's song "American Pie" all about?
    The interpreter got Altamont right, but failed to make the connection to the day the music died.

    https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~jdevor/...mericanPie.htm
    "But something touched me deep inside, The day the music died."
    The interpreter states: The same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly also took the lives of Richie Valens ("La Bamba") and The Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace"). Since all three were so prominent at the time, February 3, 1959 became known as "The Day The Music Died".
    [The Interpreter assumes the standard interpretation without attempting to actually interpret anything. Lazy.]
    The interpreter also states: 'And as the flames climbed high into the night To light the sacrificial rite' - About Altamont, and in particular Mick Jagger's prancing and posing while it was happening. The sacrifice is Meredith Hunter, and the bonfires around the area provide the flames. Wrong, Mr. Interpreter. The idea of sacrifice is correct, but the actual sacrifice was music, not poor concert-goer (and nobody) Meredith Hunter.

    Radio commentator Glenn Beck got it right!
    “American Pie” explained by Glenn Beck: What does “The Day the music died” mean? – Glenn Beck
    Don McLean was not just writing about this event but the demise of an era. The erosion of your culture. The erosion of our values. Altamont was the final blow to bring about the day the music died.
    But as with most of his statements, it is an assertion without proof.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    Putting the stanza back together, we have:
    "I can't remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside,
    The day the music died."

    In this stanza, McLean has created a contrast between two events using the third line as a bridge:
    "BUT something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died."

    If the day the music died was the same day as Holly's death, McLean would not need to put the word "but" in there to indicate a contrast. It's that simple.

    But the REALLY simple answer is merely to assume that the song obviously references the date of Holly's death. That interpretation is not only simple, it is simple-minded. It seems to reflect some very early 1970s efforts to interpret this difficult song, resulting in an interpretation which stuck probably because nobody had yet figured out that the song's climactic (and by far its most dominating) verse refers to the 1969 Altamont concert which resulted in the death of Meredith Hunter, the concert itself symbolizing the death of music itself.
    I can't remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died.


    There you go, buddy. No need to get your Ti in a twist.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    I can't remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died.


    There you go, buddy. No need to get your Ti in a twist.
    It's not just my Ti, my Si wants to engage in the battle too. What better function than Si to deal with symbolism and with stomping out idiocy all at the same time?
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    It's not just my Ti, my Si wants to engage in the battle too. What better function than Si to deal with symbolism and with stomping out idiocy all at the same time?
    Did you know that Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1966?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Did you know that Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1966?
    You're bringing out my inferior Fe big time, dude.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  7. #7
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    It's a compelling argument, and most of the stuff in the song is actually about the late 60's. "The Joker on the sidelines in a cast" is Bob Dylan. Dylan had a motorcycle accident in the late 60's, and grew disillusioned with the idealistic folk scene. He was seen as betraying the folk scene by going electric (which was seen as corporate, sell-out stuff); along with his disillusionment, this makes him making him a "joker".

    But, if the day itself is Altamont, why did February make him shiver, with ever paper he delivered? Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn't take one more step?


    And then, there is this:



    Darth Sidious plays awesome piano... who knew?
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    It's a compelling argument, and most of the stuff in the song is actually about the late 60's. "The Joker on the sidelines in a cast" is Bob Dylan. Dylan had a motorcycle accident in the late 60's, and grew disillusioned with the idealistic folk scene. He was seen as betraying the folk scene by going electric (which was seen as corporate, sell-out stuff); along with his disillusionment, this makes him making him a "joker".

    But, if the day itself is Altamont, why did February make him shiver, with ever paper he delivered? Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn't take one more step?
    Don McLean was a paperboy. He learned about the plane crash while delivering papers because it was headline news. The bad news on the doorstep is the newspaper that he delivers to the doorsteps.

    The song covers the 10-year period from 1959 to 1969. It begins with the plane crash and ends with the Altamont concert - not counting the slow outro verse at the end.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  9. #9
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    Don McLean was a paperboy. He learned about the plane crash while delivering papers because it was headline news. The bad news on the doorstep is the newspaper that he delivers to the doorsteps.

    The song covers the 10-year period from 1959 to 1969. It begins with the plane crash and ends with the Altamont concert - not counting the slow outro verse at the end.
    Well, what month is the Day the Music Died in?

    Altamont in 69' was December. The plane crash in '59 was in February. If only the song referenced a specific month.... we would know for sure.

    In addition, the chorus references Holly.

    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
    http://kevan.org/johari?name=Birddude78

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Well, what month is the Day the Music Died in?

    Altamont in 69' was December. The plane crash in '59 was in February. If only the song referenced a specific month.... we would know for sure.

    In addition, the chorus references Holly.
    I already know for sure. The day the music died was Dec 6 1969. Good catch on the Holly reference.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

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