A long, long time ago ...
In fact, it has been 40 years since Don McLean’s single “American Pie” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The iconic musical representation of historical events that shaped a nation has been theorized repeatedly in an attempt to interpret the meanings behind the lyrics of the song.
The one message that does resonate throughout the tune, however, is that the song — and the times during which it was written — reflect the loss of innocence in American music.
A newly-released volume of scholarly essays; “Do You Believe In Rock and Roll?: Essays on Don McLean’s “American Pie” by Delphos natives Ray Schuck and his son, Raymond I. Schuck; examines the song through a variety of themes.
During the 1970s, the music culture evolved from the rebellious counterculture of the 60s toward a trend of relaxing music as well as dance music. People were tired of the turmoil from the previous decade — the Vietnam War, Charles Manson’s “Helter Skelter”, widespread drug abuse and deaths by overdose — and many of them sought a refuge in dance clubs to enjoy a good time.
Music in this era became a vehicle for dialogue, voicing a deeper, darker and sadder outcry for change. It was the summer of 1971 and Don McLean’s epic exploration of American culture in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, “American Pie,” had catapulted into the top 40 and was a staple on all playlists.
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