Mais, quand le Fils de l’homme viendra, trouvera-t-il la foi sur la terre? Jésus (Luc 18: 8)
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me. John Lennon (1966)
Who wrote the book of love? Tell me, tell me… I wonder, wonder who … Was it someone from above? The Monotones (1958)
Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie ‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die. Buddy Holly (1957)
Well, ya know a rolling stone don’t gather no moss. Buddy Holly (1958)
Now, for ten years we’ve been on our own And moss grows fat on a rolling stone But, that’s not how it used to be. (…) The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day the music died. Don McLean
C’était une sorte de Woodstock, le genre de truc qui marchait à l’époque, mais cette mode allait sur sa fin. Si Woodstock a lancé la mode, elle a pris fin ce jour-là. Charlie Watts
Ça a été horrible, vraiment horrible. Tu te sens responsable. Comment cela a-t-il pu déraper de la sorte ? Mais je n’ai pas pensé à tous ces trucs auxquels les journalistes ont pensé : la grande perte de l’innocence, la fin d’une ère… C’était davantage le côté effroyable de la situation, le fait horrible que quelqu’un soit tué pendant un concert, combien c’était triste pour sa famille, mais aussi le comportement flippant des Hell’s Angels. Mick Jagger
J’y suis pas allé pour faire la police. J’suis pas flic. Je ne prétendrai jamais être flic. Ce Mick Jagger, il met tout sur le dos des Angels. Il nous prend pour des nazes. En ce qui me concerne, on s’est vraiment fait entuber par cet abruti. On m’a dit que si je m’asseyais sur le bord de la scène, pour bloquer les gens, je pourrais boire de la bière jusqu’à la fin du concert. C’est pour ça que j’y suis allé. Et tu sais quoi ? Quand ils ont commencé à toucher nos motos, tout a dérapé. Je sais pas si vous pensez qu’on les paie 50 $ ou qu’on les vole, ou que ça coûte cher ou quoi. Personne ne touche à ma moto. Juste parce qu’il y a une foule de 300 000 personnes ils pensent pouvoir s’en sortir. Mais quand je vois quelque chose qui est toute ma vie, avec tout ce que j’y ai investi, la chose que j’aime le plus au monde, et qu’un type lui donne des coups de pied, on va le choper. Et tu sais quoi ? On les a eus. Je ne suis pas un pacifiste minable, en aucun cas. Et c’est peut-être des hippies à fleurs et tout ça. Certains étaient bourrés de drogue, et c’est dommage qu’on ne l’ait pas été, ils descendaient la colline en courant et en hurlant et en sautant sur les gens. Et pas toujours sur des Angels, mais quand ils ont sauté sur un Angel, ils se sont fait mal. Sonny Barger
SOS Racisme. SOS Baleines. Ambiguïté : dans un cas, c’est pour dénoncer le racisme ; dans l’autre, c’est pour sauver les baleines. Et si dans le premier cas, c’était aussi un appel subliminal à sauver le racisme, et donc l’enjeu de la lutte antiraciste comme dernier vestige des passions politiques, et donc une espèce virtuellement condamnée. Jean Baudrillard (1987)
I had an idea for a big song about America, and I didn’t want to write that this land is your land or some song like that. And I came up with this notion that politics and music flow parallel together forward through history. So the music you get is related somehow to the political environment that’s going on. And in the song, « American Pie, » the verses get somewhat more dire each time until you get to the end, but the good old boys are always there singing and singing, « Bye-bye Miss American Pie » almost like fiddling while Rome is burning. This was all in my head, and it sort of turned out to be true because, you now have a kind of music in America that’s really more spectacle, it owes more to Liberace than it does to Elvis Presley. And it’s somewhat meaningless and loud and bloviating and, and yet — and then we have this sort of spectacle in Washington, this kind of politics, which has gotten so out of control. And so the theory seems to hold up, but again, it was only my theory, and that’s how I wrote the song. That was the principle behind it. Don McLean
For some reason I wanted to write a big song about America and about politics, but I wanted to do it in a different way. As I was fiddling around, I started singing this thing about the Buddy Holly crash, the thing that came out (singing), ‘Long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.’ I thought, Whoa, what’s that? And then the day the music died, it just came out. And I said, Oh, that is such a great idea. And so that’s all I had. And then I thought, I can’t have another slow song on this record. I’ve got to speed this up. I came up with this chorus, crazy chorus. And then one time about a month later I just woke up and wrote the other five verses. Because I realized what it was, I knew what I had. And basically, all I had to do was speed up the slow verse with the chorus and then slow down the last verse so it was like the first verse, and then tell the story, which was a dream. It is from all these fantasies, all these memories that I made personal. Buddy Holly’s death to me was a personal tragedy. As a child, a 15-year-old, I had no idea that nobody else felt that way much. I mean, I went to school and mentioned it and they said, ‘So what?’ So I carried this yearning and longing, if you will, this weird sadness that would overtake me when I would look at this album, The Buddy Holly Story, because that was my last Buddy record before he passed away. Don McLean
I was headed on a certain course, and the success I got with ‘American Pie’ really threw me off. It just shattered my lifestyle and made me quite neurotic and extremely petulant. I was really prickly for a long time. If the things you’re doing aren’t increasing your energy and awareness and clarity and enjoyment, then you feel as though you’re moving blindly. That’s what happened to me. I seemed to be in a place where nothing felt like anything, and nothing meant anything. Literally nothing mattered. It was very hard for me to wake up in the morning and decide why it was I wanted to get up. Don McLean
I’m very proud of the song. It is biographical in nature and I don’t think anyone has ever picked up on that. The song starts off with my memories of the death of Buddy Holly. But it moves on to describe America as I was seeing it and how I was fantasizing it might become, so it’s part reality and part fantasy but I’m always in the song as a witness or as even the subject sometimes in some of the verses. You know how when you dream something you can see something change into something else and it’s illogical when you examine it in the morning but when you’re dreaming it seems perfectly logical. So it’s perfectly okay for me to talk about being in the gym and seeing this girl dancing with someone else and suddenly have this become this other thing that this verse becomes and moving on just like that. That’s why I’ve never analyzed the lyrics to the song. They’re beyond analysis. They’re poetry. Don McLean
By 1964, you didn’t hear anything about Buddy Holly. He was completely forgotten. But I didn’t forget him, and I think this song helped make people aware that Buddy’s legitimate musical contribution had been overlooked. When I first heard ‘American Pie’ on the radio, I was playing a gig somewhere, and it was immediately followed by ‘Peggy Sue.’ They caught right on to the Holly connection, and that made me very happy. I realized that it was actually gonna perform some good works. Don McLean
It means never having to work again for the rest of my life. Don McLean (1991)
A month or so later I was in Philadelphia and I wrote the rest of the song. I was trying to figure out what this song was trying to tell me and where it was supposed to go. That’s when I realized it had to go forward from 1957 and it had to take in everything that has happened. I had to be a witness to the things going on, kind of like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. I didn’t know anything about hit records. I was just trying to make the most interesting and exciting record that I could. Once the song was written, there was no doubt that it was the whole enchilada. It was clearly a very interesting, wonderful thing and everybody knew it. Don McLean (2003)
Basically in ‘American Pie’ things are heading in the wrong direction… It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense. I was around in 1970 and now I am around in 2015… there is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie’. Don McLean (2015)
The song has nostalgic themes, stretching from the late 1950s until the late 1960s. Except to acknowledge that he first learned about Buddy Holly’s death on February 3, 1959—McLean was age 13—when he was folding newspapers for his paper route on the morning of February 4, 1959 (hence the line « February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver »), McLean has generally avoided responding to direct questions about the song’s lyrics; he has said: « They’re beyond analysis. They’re poetry. » He also stated in an editorial published in 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. « The Big Bopper » Richardson (who are alluded to in the final verse in a comparison with the Christian Holy Trinity), that writing the first verse of the song exorcised his long-running grief over Holly’s death and that he considers the song to be « a big song … that summed up the world known as America ». McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Holly. It was also speculated that the song contains numerous references to post-World War II American events (such as the murders of civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner), and elements of culture, including 1960s culture (e.g. sock hops, cruising, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Charles Manson, and much more). When asked what « American Pie » meant, McLean jokingly replied, « It means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to. » Later, he stated, « You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me … Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence. » He also commented on the popularity of his music, « I didn’t write songs that were just catchy, but with a point of view, or songs about the environment. In February 2015, McLean announced he would reveal the meaning of the lyrics to the song when the original manuscript went for auction in New York City, in April 2015. The lyrics and notes were auctioned on April 7, and sold for $1.2 million. In the sale catalogue notes, McLean revealed the meaning in the song’s lyrics: « Basically in American Pie things are heading in the wrong direction. … It [life] is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense. » The catalogue confirmed some of the better known references in the song’s lyrics, including mentions of Elvis Presley (« the king ») and Bob Dylan (« the jester »), and confirmed that the song culminates with a near-verbatim description of the death of Meredith Hunter at the Altamont Free Concert, ten years after the plane crash that killed Holly, Valens, and Richardson. Wikipedia
« The Jester » is probably Bob Dylan. It refers to him wearing « A coat he borrowed from James Dean, » and being « On the sidelines in a cast. » Dylan wore a red jacket similar to James Dean’s on the cover of The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, and got in a motorcycle accident in 1966 which put him out of service for most of that year. Dylan also made frequent use of jokers, jesters or clowns in his lyrics. The line, « And a voice that came from you and me » could refer to the folk style he sings, and the line, « And while the king was looking down the jester stole his thorny crown » could be about how Dylan took Elvis Presley’s place as the number one performer. The line, « Eight miles high and falling fast » is likely a reference to The Byrds’ hit « Eight Miles High. » Regarding the line, « The birds (Byrds) flew off from a fallout shelter, » a fallout shelter is a ’60s term for a drug rehabilitation facility, which one of the band members of The Byrds checked into after being caught with drugs. The section with the line, « The flames climbed high into the night, » is probably about the Altamont Speedway concert in 1969. While the Rolling Stones were playing, a fan was stabbed to death by a member of The Hells Angels who was hired for security. The line, « Sergeants played a marching tune, » is likely a reference to The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The line, « I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news, but she just smiled and turned away, » is probably about Janis Joplin. She died of a drug overdose in 1970. The lyric, « And while Lenin/Lennon read a book on Marx, » has been interpreted different ways. Some view it as a reference to Vladimir Lenin, the communist dictator who led the Russian Revolution in 1917 and who built the USSR, which was later ruled by Josef Stalin. The « Marx » referred to here would be the socialist philosopher Karl Marx. Others believe it is about John Lennon, whose songs often reflected a very communistic theology (particularly « Imagine »). Some have even suggested that in the latter case, « Marx » is actually Groucho Marx, another cynical entertainer who was suspected of being a socialist, and whose wordplay was often similar to Lennon’s lyrics. « Did you write the book of love » is probably a reference to the 1958 hit « Book Of Love » by the Monotones. The chorus for that song is « Who wrote the book of love? Tell me, tell me… I wonder, wonder who » etc. One of the lines asks, « Was it someone from above? » Don McLean was a practicing Catholic, and believed in the depravity of ’60s music, hence the closing lyric: « The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day the music died. » Some, have postulated that in this line, the Trinity represents Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. « And moss grows fat on our rolling stone » – Mick Jagger’s appearance at a concert in skin-tight outfits, displaying a roll of fat, unusual for the skinny Stones frontman. Also, the words, « You know a rolling stone don’t gather no moss » appear in the Buddy Holly song « Early in the Morning, » which is about his ex missing him early in the morning when he’s gone. « The quartet practiced in the park » – The Beatles performing at Shea Stadium. « And we sang dirges in the dark, the day the music died » – The ’60s peace marches. « Helter Skelter in a summer swelter » – The Manson Family’s attack on Sharon Tate and others in California. « We all got up to dance, Oh, but we never got the chance, ’cause the players tried to take the field, the marching band refused to yield » – The huge numbers of young people who went to Chicago for the 1968 Democratic Party National Convention, and who thought they would be part of the process (« the players tried to take the field »), only to receive a violently rude awakening by the Chicago Police Department nightsticks (the commissions who studied the violence after-the-fact would later term the Chicago PD as « conducting a full-scale police riot ») or as McLean calls the police « the marching band. » (…)The line « Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack Flash sat on a candle stick » is taken from a nursery rhyme that goes « Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. » Jumping over the candlestick comes from a game where people would jump over fires. « Jumpin’ Jack Flash » is a Rolling Stones song. Another possible reference to The Stones can be found in the line, « Fire is the devils only friend, » which could be The Rolling Stones « Sympathy For The Devil, » which is on the same Rolling Stones album. (…) McLean wrote the opening verse first, then came up with the chorus, including the famous title. The phrase « as American as apple pie » was part of the lexicon, but « American Pie » was not. When McLean came up with those two words, he says « a light went off in my head. » (…) Regarding the lyrics, « Jack Flash sat on a candlestick, ’cause fire is the devil’s only friend, » this could be a reference to the space program, and to the role it played in the Cold War between America and Russia throughout the ’60s. It is central to McLean’s theme of the blending of the political turmoil and musical protest as they intertwined through our lives during this remarkable point in history. Thus, the reference incorporates Jack Flash (the Rolling Stones), with our first astronaut to orbit the earth, John (common nickname for John is Jack) Glenn, paired with « Flash » (an allusion to fire), with another image for a rocket launch, « candlestick, » then pulls the whole theme together with « ’cause fire is the Devil’s (Russia’s) only friend, » as Russia had beaten America to manned orbital flight. At 8 minutes 32 seconds, this is the longest song in length to hit #1 on the Hot 100. The single was split in two parts because the 45 did not have enough room for the whole song on one side. The A-side ran 4:11 and the B-side was 4:31 – you had to flip the record in the middle to hear all of it. Disc jockeys usually played the album version at full length, which was to their benefit because it gave them time for a snack, a cigarette or a bathroom break. (…) When the original was released at a whopping 8:32, some radio stations in the United States refused to play it because of a policy limiting airplay to 3:30. Some interpret the song as a protest against this policy. When Madonna covered the song many years later, she cut huge swathes of the song, ironically to make it more radio friendly, to 4:34 on the album and under 4 minutes for the radio edit. In 1971, a singer named Lori Lieberman saw McLean perform this at the Troubadour theater in Los Angeles. She claimed that she was so moved by the concert that her experience became the basis for her song « Killing Me Softly With His Song, » which was a huge hit for Roberta Flack in 1973. When we spoke with Charles Fox, who wrote « Killing Me Softly » with Norman Gimbel, he explained that when Lieberman heard their song, it reminded her of the show, and she had nothing to do with writing the song. This song did a great deal to revive interest in Buddy Holly. Says McLean: « By 1964, you didn’t hear anything about Buddy Holly. He was completely forgotten. But I didn’t forget him, and I think this song helped make people aware that Buddy’s legitimate musical contribution had been overlooked. When I first heard ‘American Pie’ on the radio, I was playing a gig somewhere, and it was immediately followed by ‘Peggy Sue.’ They caught right on to the Holly connection, and that made me very happy. I realized that it was actually gonna perform some good works. » In 2002, this was featured in a Chevrolet ad. It showed a guy in his Chevy singing along to the end of this song. At the end, he gets out and it is clear that he was not going to leave the car until the song was over. The ad played up the heritage of Chevrolet, which has a history of being mentioned in famous songs (the line in this one is « Drove my Chevy to the levee »). Chevy used the same idea a year earlier when it ran billboards of a red Corvette that said, « They don’t write songs about Volvos. » Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this song for his 1999 album Running With Scissors. It was called « The Saga Begins » and was about Star Wars: The Phantom Menace written from the point of view of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Sample lyric: « Bye, bye this here Anakin guy, maybe Vader someday later but now just a small fry. » It was the second Star Wars themed parody for Weird Al – his first being « Yoda, » which is a takeoff on « Lola » by The Kinks. Al admitted that he wrote « The Saga Begins » before the movie came out, entirely based on Internet rumors. (…) This song was enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002, 29 years after it was snubbed for the four categories it was nominated in. At the 1973 ceremony, « American Pie » lost both Song of the Year and Record of the year to « First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. » (…) Fans still make the occasional pilgrimage to the spot of the plane crash that inspired this song. It’s in a location so remote that tourists are few. The song starts in mono, and gradually goes to stereo over its eight-and-a-half minutes. This was done to represent going from the monaural era into the age of stereo. This song was a forebear to the ’50s nostalgia the became popular later in the decade. A year after it was released, Elton John scored a ’50s-themed hit with « Crocodile Rock; in 1973 the George Lucas movie American Graffiti harkened back to that decade, and in 1978 the movie The Buddy Holly Story hit theaters. One of the more bizarre covers of this song came in 1972, when it appeared on the album Meet The Brady Bunch, performed by the cast of the TV show. This version runs just 3:39. This song appears in the films Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Celebrity (1998) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001). Don McLean’s original manuscript of « American Pie » was sold for $1.2 million at a Christie’s New York auction on April 7, 2015. Songfacts
Nostalgie quand tu nous tiens !
En ces jours étranges ….
Où, à l’instar d’une espèce condamnée comme l’avait bien vu Baudrillard …
Le racisme devient « l’enjeu de la lutte antiraciste comme dernier vestige des passions politiques » …
Et SOS racisme attaque à nouveau Eric Zemmour en justice …
Pendant qu’au Sénat ou dans les beaux quartiers parisiens, ses notables de créateurs coulent des jours paisibles …
Comment ne pas repenser …
A la fameuse phrase de la célébrissime chanson de Don McLean …
Qui entre la mort de Buddy Holly et celle, quatre mois après Woodstock, d’un fan au festival d’Altamont pendant le passage des Rolling Stones ….
Revenait, il y a 50 ans sur la perte d’innocence du rock et de l’Amérique de son adolescence …
Regrettant le temps proverbial …
Où « la pierre qui roule n’amassait pas mousse » ?