Saturday, December 04, 2010

Don McLean's Killing Me Softly With American Pie

Playing Only Half The Song:
It is so long that DJs play only one side of the eight and a half minute song. It needs no introduction because it tells the rock and roll story, so anyone familiar with early 70s music would know it. Singer songwriter Don McLean was not tongue-in-cheek when he said that he never had to work again after his hit single. His composition American Pie (1971) made money for him and it became the new anthem in the USA.

Buddy Holly n Friends:
A 'sprawling impressionistic ballad', it touched on the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (P. Richardson) in a plane crash way back in 1959. McLean wrote the song in the 60s and, together with another composition, Vincent, the songs became hits.

Best Song of Century:
American Pie is in 5th position under the 365 Best Songs of the Century category. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland), White Christmas (Bing Crosby), This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie) and Respect (Aretha Franklin) are the first four.

Killing Me ... With His Song:
He became an overnight success and American singer Lori Leiberman commented that Killing Me Softly With His Song (1971) was written due to a reaction from a Don McLean concert. She had recorded it but the Roberta Flack's (recently in Singapore) version won the Grammy.

1. When I first heard the song I thought it would never end. El Paso (1959) by Marty Robbins was the longest song I've heard before American Pie. I don't really like AP but love the different interpretations that come with it.

2. Say whatever, the song made an impact on rock n rollers even up till today. It was even revived by Madonna. Do you think anyone would write about our singer songwriters who had passed on?

3. There is a posting on this blog about singer songwriter Sonny Bala who died in the 90s. Nobody wrote a song about him. Why aren't we honouring our own Singapore artistes?

4. Comment anyone?

Image: Google.
Information; Wikipedia
You Tube: French Spyder


Lam Chun See said...

Suddenly I have this crazing to listen to my Best of Don Maclean cd. Love practically every song there; especially Mountains of Mourne and this one which says:

The book of life is brief.
And once the page is read;
All but love is dead.
That is my belief.

I think not only his melodies are beautiful but his lyrics as well. Truly a great singer song writer.

Unk Dicko said...

This song always succeed in'killing'me softly, slowly...! It's that good!
Sometime ago,I did some research into the rumours and gossips concerning 'why' the song was written and attempts to pin-point who exactly was the subject of the song..." I heard HE sang a good song, I heard HE had a style." The most accepted version points to Don McLean. It's an interesting story.
Anyway, I had a post done in March this year about a parody version of American Pie. A few posts about Richie Valens and the others in April 2010.
Btw, Andy...fully agree, El Paso too " panjang".

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Chun See.

Yes, McLean is definitely a great songwriter besides singing with cool sophistication.

I still like 'Vincent.'

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Will check out your posts soon.

The parody versions are cute. There's one by: Jake A Ralphing (Luke Brattoni) who uses nasty words.

Al Yankovic has one too. Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

He is the American pie. Seen him perform on stage live.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

It must have been a treat. I don't think Don McLean has been to Singapore, or has he?


Looi said...

I dig the full 8 minute long version of AP. May not be the best song out there - the length and repetition is a problem, but I like how it unravels as an ode, by-the-bayou kind of story. How often do you get that these days. Vincent is great too, both in their own ways. I have the AP and Tapestry albums, the latter more of a compilation. Funny you should say this now Andy, but Don is coming on 28 Feb as part of the Mosaic Festival. For sure I'll be there! Make sure you guys get your tix too!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Looi,
Thanks for visiting.

I like your description about AP being "an ode, by the bayou kind of story." Distinctive.

I actually prepared a posting this week about four top concerts coming to Singapore in the next two months, Clapton, Eagles, Santana and McLean but didn't publish it because of certain constraints.

I agree with your choice. Vincent is definitely another great.

Am looking for a secondhand Tapestry vinyl. Nothing like the original.

With tickets costing the sky, I have to select carefully. With the cheapest tickets, all the shows would cost about $500.00, not forgetting Buble. Arrgh!