The Song and Its Meaning



Related Links and Documents

About the Author


Musings on American Pie


Related Links and Documents

Here is a list of links to other sites and the various media files available here. I am not affiliated with any of these sites. Entries marked (archived) are no longer extant, but are preserved by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (always a gift from God, if you ask me).


Don McLean and the Song

Don McLean's official website

SuperSeventies page on the song

The chords for the song (archived)


Depending on the content, the interpretations are sorted in: Sensible, Ridiculous, and Strange.


Jim Fann's Understanding "American Pie", a very good site detailing a historically-based interpretation of the song.

Matt Carson's interpretation (archived)
Summary on Jim Kalrath's Wisconsin Historic Rail Connection site - it's out of the site's scope, so it's not accessible from its home page - but it's accessible here!

Rich Kulawiec's The Annotated "American Pie", another interesting piece.

Mark Jordan's interpretation (archived) (link to the interpretation of verse 5 mistyped: replace the first period in "AmPie.vs5.html" with an underscore to show "AmPie_vs5.html" in order to continue reading)

Collection of articles on About.com by Robert Fontenot

Songfacts article about the song - with a lot of comments (289 as of August 16, 2016, to be precise)

Jc_Freak's essay on Christian apocalyptic imagery in the song

Interpretation by Jim Pittenger of the investment advisory company Pittenger & Anderson, Inc.

Steven Pockett's interpretation (archived)

Adam Masterman's essay on the song

McFarland Books page for the book Do You Believe in Rock and Roll? Essays on Don McLean’s “American Pie”, edited by Raymond I. Schuck and Ray Schuck (I would be very grateful if someone can acquire a copy for me to read and integrate into the site - just write me an e-mail and I'll send you an address to mail it to!)

A short analysis by Jim Nelson (archived)

Joseph Bartlo's analysis (archived)

Mike Morrice's interpretation, which takes the entire song to be about Buddy Holly (archived)


The Microsoft Conspiracy Interpretation (archived). It's quite funny, and rather silly. Perhaps Bill Gates really is evil and has taken over the world. Or perhaps it's more satirical computer humor.


An interpretation about Barack Obama and the apocalypse in the song - you may or may not agree with it!

News articles

A BBC Future about serial killers, where Jon Schwenk, who collects artifacts of murderers, had told the reporter about a conversation with Charles Manson; at one point the latter sings "American Pie".


Brendan's American Pie Archive, where many of the links come from. You can find additional links (some do not work anymore) that you can find useful. (archived)

Media Files

Obviously, with the rise of the current digital age, it isn't surprising that we all expect some form of media, so I have taken the liberty of collecting video and sound files relating to the song. Many might become lost, but my efforts will ensure that they live on here. Some are stored on this site, others embedded until I can get around to storing them here. I recommend using the latest browser. Certain files may come with accompanying hyperlinks. Currently, this isn't all of them, but just send me some links and/or files and I will include them. I hope to have them transcripted into text files for the aid of the hard of hearing, so if you wish, just write an e-mail!

The Song

Segment of a Dutch TV program detailing the story of the song (embedded for now):

A 1989 film that uses the song as its basis. I don't know who was involved in the creation of the film. If you do, contact me!


The original syndicated version of Bob Dearborn's famed analysis of the song, produced in 1972, originally from the now-defunct Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory website, and later posted onto his personal site:

In the same spirit, the conservative commentator Glenn Beck did his own interpretation of the song on his radio program. His interpretation is somewhat different, but it does seem that he has similar conclusions to that of Jim Fann, as well as understands McLean's perspective growing up. Unlike everyone else, he also adds what he thinks we could learn from the song, which no one else has ever done (that I know of). I understand that not everyone likes him, but you have to admit, he does know what the lyrics refer to. Split into two parts, it's embedded here:

Visual media format interpretations by YouTube users lonestarsound (first), Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood (second), and Quesou tontus (third) (embedded for now):


Here are documents related to the song:


Page 10 of the February 10 issue of Ad Hoc, the student newspaper of the University of Michigan, Dearborn, showing an interpretation from WWWW-FM (now WDTW-FM) in Detroit, Michigan


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