Wednesday, February 04, 2009

American Pie

This one's for you, Cat.

Some moments you don't forget. I recall as though it were yesterday the first time I heard Don McLean sing American Pie. It wasn't exactly like this video, but this is pretty close.

The radio was playing and I was leaving work from the Merritt Square Mall on Merritt Island, Florida. Mid-afternoon and I was driving a Pontiac Catalina station wagon. In 1971 everything I owned would fit into a station wagon. Before the first time the chorus played I was captured by the poetry of the lyrics. I was only a few minutes away from where I lived in Cocoa (Merritt Island lies between Cocoa and Cocoa Beach) but I pulled over on the shoulder to hear the rest of the song. I wasn't sure exactly why, but I knew, absolutely, that first time I heard it, that I was listening to something important.

The Day the Music Died was February 3, 1959. I was in high school at the time and remember hearing about it on the news.

American Pie was McLean's tribute, ten years later. By then I had matriculated through the civil rights movement (white people by then had been politely invited out), finished my tour of duty in the Army, completed college and had my first real job. Seems like yesterday but it's getting to be a "long, long time ago."

1 comment:

vietnamcatfish said...

Hello Hootster, I love this song. Very clever and poetic. References to Janis Joplin, the Stones, the Fab 4-of course. We were definitely a generation lost in space. The music died for me in 1980 when Mark Chapman, a graduate of Columbia High School in Decatur, shot John Lennon. I listened, as a kid, to Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. I love the movie with Gary Busey doing a great impersonation of B.H. Seems February is making us shiver-well, it was a few days ago. Global warming anyone? Take care, Hootster.