American Pie References


What do the lyrics mean?

American Pie is a song written by Don McLean. There is much debate on what the lyrics mean. Let's get right into it.

Some Reflections

One thing that is agreed on is that the song refers to the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson.

Similarities in the fourth verse

The second line reads, "The Byrd flew off to a fallout shelter", which alludes to the rock group of the same name. One of them was arrested for drugs and sent to a rehab center, which were/are known as "fallout shelters". Another line says "the players tried for a forward pass", which I interpret to mean the general movement for a better society at that point in time. Next up is the section, "with the jester on the sideline with a cast", referring to Bobby Dylan, who had crashed his motorcycle and spent great deal of time out of the music industry. It is followed by, "the halftime air was sweet perfume",which could either refer to drugs, @_@, or it might be talking about the opportunities that other artists would have because Dylan was out of the picture.

References in the chorus

The refrain, "bye, bye, Miss American pie", is the part that most people recognize and remember from the song and it could refer either to the saying "as American as apple pie", meaning the American way of life is leaving, or to his ex-girlfriend, who was a Miss America contestant. "I drove my Chevy" could also be a reference to the stereotypical American, as that was the symbol of American automobiles at the time. Also, the phrase, this'll be the day that I die" is probably a play on the song by Buddy Holly named "That'll be the day"

One more

The final connection I drew was when he says the players tried to take the field and the marching band refused to yield. I think it is referring to the events that occurred at Kent State.

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