[24hoursupport] Re: Testing Message 2

  • From: "Ron Allen" <chizotz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 24hoursupport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 22:18:52 -0500


testing, ignore

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On 4/18/2002 at 9:45 PM Ron Allen wrote:

>Testing. Please ignore.
>
>*****
>Don McLean's "American Pie", a Line-By-Line Analysis
>
>Drawn from "The Annotated American Pie", a compilation of Usenet posts on
>the subject since 1983, posted by Rich Kulawiec. None of the material here
>is original to me, and I make no claim to it. This is being passed on
>mainly because I like the song and find this analysis fascinating.
>
>The format of this posting is in the form of the lyrics to the song
>beginning with a bracket ([) followed by blocks of text decribing what the
>lyrics may be (in many cases almost certainly are) referring to. It should
>be noted that Don McLean refuses to confirm or deny any of the speculation
>about the meaning of specific lyrics of "American Pie".
>
>The entire song is a tribute to Buddy Holly and a commentary on how Rock
>and Roll changed in the years since his death. It seems to be a lament
>about the move away from "danceable" music in Rock and Roll and attributes
>that move to the absence of Holly's influence.
>
>---- begin analysis ----
>
>     [A long, long time ago
>
>American Pie reached #1 in the US in 1972. Buddy Holly died in 1959.
>
>     [I can still remember how
>     [That music used to make me smile
>     [And I knew that if I had my chance
>     [That I could make those people dance
>     [And maybe they'd be happy for awhile
>
>One of Rock and Roll's early functions was to provide dance music for
>various social events. McLean recalls his desire to become a musician
>playing that kind of music.
>
>     [But February made me shiver
>
>Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959, in a plane crash in Iowa during a
>snow storm.
>
>     [With every paper I'd deliver
>
>Don McLean's only job other than professional singer-songwriter was being
a
>paperboy.
>
>     [Bad news on the doorstep
>     [I couldn't take one more step
>     [I can't remember if I cried
>     [When I read about his widowed bride
>
>Holly's recent bride was pregnant when the crash took place, and she had a
>miscarriage shortly thereafter.
>
>     [But something touched me deep inside
>     [The day the music died
>
>The same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly also killed Richie Valens
("La
>Bamba") and The Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace"). Since all three were so
>prominent at the time, February 3, 1959, became known as "The Day The
Music
>Died".
>
>     [So bye bye Miss American Pie
>
>The plane that crashed was named "American Pie".
>
>     [Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
>     [Them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
>     [Singing "This'll be the day that I die,
>     [This'll be the day that I die"
>
>One of Holly's hits was "That'll be the Day", the chorus of which contains
>the line "That'll be the day <pause> that I die".
>
>     [Did you write the book of love
>
>"The Book of Love", a hit by the Monotones in 1958
>
>     [And do you have faith in God above
>     [If the Bible tells you so
>
>"The Bible Tells Me So", song by Don Cornell, 1955 Could also be a
>reference to the Sunday School song which goes, "Jesus loves me this I
>know, for the Bible tells me so". However...
>
>Don McLean is a deeply religious person, this much is acknowledged fact.
>Throughout this song there are religious references, as wells as
references
>to music, Rock and Roll in particular, being something of a God-figure or
>symbol. 
>
>     [Now do you believe in Rock and Roll?
>
>The Lovin' Spoonful had a hit in 1965 with John Sebastian's "Do You
Believe
>in Magic". The song has the line, "Do you believe in magic/it's like
trying
>to tell a stranger about Rock and Roll".
>
>     [Can music save your mortal soul
>     [And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
>
>Dancing slow was an important part of early Rock and Roll dance events,
but
>declined in importance throughout the 60's as things such as psychedelia
>and the ten-minute guitar solo gained prominence.
>
>     [Well I know that you're in love with him
>     ['Cause I saw you dancing in the gym
>
>In the early days of Rock and Roll, dancing was an expression of love and
>carried a connotation of committment. Dance partners were not as readily
>exchanged as they would be later.
>
>     [You both kicked off your shoes
>
>A reference to the "sock hop", typically a school dance event held in the
>gymnasium. Sneakers were not the fashion staple they are today, and the
>street shoes of the day would mar and damage the gymnasium floor. Dancers
>had to take off their shoes and dance in their socks to prevent such
>damage.
>
>     [Man I dig those Rhythm 'n Blues
>
>A little history: before the popularity of Rock and Roll, music, like most
>everything in the US, was highly segregated. The popular music of black
>performers for largely black audiences was called, first, "race music"
>which was later softened to Rhythm and Blues. In the early 50's, as they
>were exposed to it through radio personalities such as Allan Freed, white
>teenagers began listening too. Starting about 1954, a number of songs from
>the Rythm and Blues charts began appearing on the overall popular charts
as
>well, usually in cover versions by established white artists (Examples:
>"Shake rattle and Roll", Joe Turner covered by Bill Haley; "Sh-Boom", The
>Chords covered by The Crew-Cuts; "Sincerely", The Moonglows covered by The
>McGuire Sisters; "Tweedle Dee", LaVerne Baker covered by Georgia Gibbs).
By
>1955, some of the Rythm and Blues artists, like Fats Domino and Little
>Richard, were able to get records on the overall pop charts. In 1956, Sun
>Records added elements of Country and Western to produce the kind of Rock
>and Roll that produced Buddy Holly.
>
>     [I was a lonely teenaged broncin' buck
>     [With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
>
>"A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)", Marty Robbins, 1957
>
>     [But I knew that I was out of luck
>     [The day the music died
>     [I started singin'
>     [(refrain)
>
>     [Now for ten years we've been on our own
>
>McLean was writing "American Pie" in the late 60's, 10 years after the
>plane crash.
>
>     [And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
>
>It's unclear who the "rolling stone" is. It is most likely a reference to
>Bob Dylan. "Like a Rolling Stone" in 1965 was Dylan's first major hit.
>
>This could also refer to the stagnation of Rock and Roll in general, or
>possibly to the changes in the music business in general and in Rock and
>Rollers, especially with regards to the huge amounts of money some of them
>were beginning to make at the time.
>
>     [But that's not how it used to be
>     [When the jester sang for the King and Queen
>
>The jester is Bob Dylan, as becomes more clear later on. This is most
>likely a reference to the Kennedys, the King and Queen of "Camelot", who
>were present at a civil rights rally in Washington DC with Martin Luther
>King. Bob Dylan performed at this rally.
>
>It's been suggested that the King is Elvis, which seems obvious, but then
>who is the Queen? Speculation has been made that it could be Connie
Francis
>or Little Richard. However, the Kennedy explanation makes much more sense.
>
>     [In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
>
>In the movie "Rebel Without a Cause", James Dean has a red windbreaker
that
>holds symbolic meaning throughout the film. On the cover of "The
>Freewheelin' Bob Dylan", Dylan is wearing just such a red windbreaker and
>is posed in a street scene similar to one seen in a well-known picture of
>James Dean.
>
>     [And a voice that came from you and me
>
>Bob Dylan's roots are in American Folk music. Folk music is, by
definition,
>the music of the masses... hence coming "from you and me".
>
>     [Oh and while the King was looking down
>     [The jester stole his thorny crown
>
>Now the King seems to refer to Elvis, whose career was in decline while
>Dylan's was ascending. The thorny crown could be the price of fame. Dylan
>had said that he wanted to be as famous as Elvis, one of his early idols.
>
>     [The courtroom was adjourned
>     [No verdict was returned
>
>The trial of the Chicago Seven (?)
>
>     [And while Lennon read a book on Marx
>
>Literally, John Lennon reading about Karl Marx. Figuratively, the
>introduction of radical politics into the music of The Beatles.
>
>     [The quartet practiced in the park
>
>The Beatles 1964 Candlestick Park concert lasted only 35 minutes, hence
>they were only practicing.
>
>     [And we sang dirges in the dark
>
>A dirge is a funeral or mourning song, so this likely directly lamenting
>the death of Holly's style of Rock and Roll.
>
>     [The day the music died
>     [We were singing...
>     [(refrain)
>
>     [Helter Skelter in summer swelter
>
>"Helter Skelter" is a Beatles song that appears on the "white" album, made
>infamous by Charles Manson who claimed that God and/or the devil was
>speaking to him through that song, causing him to lead his followers in
the
>Tate-LoBianco murders.
>
>"Summer swelter" likely is a reference to "the long hot summer" of Watts.
>
>     [The birds flew off to the fallout shelter
>     [Eight miles high and falling fast
>
>The Byrds "Eight Miles High" was on their late 1966 release "Fifth
>Dimension". It was one of the first records to be widely banned because of
>supposedly drug-oriented lyrics.
>
>     [It landed foul on the grass
>
>One of the Byrds was busted for possession of marijuana.
>
>     [The players tried for a forward pass
>
>A football metaphor, obviously, but about what? Could refer to The Rolling
>Stones trying for an opening that didn't really happen until The Beatles
>broke up.
>
>     [With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
>
>On July 29, 1966, Bob Dylan crashed his Triumph 55 motorcycle while riding
>near his home in Woodstock, NY. He spent nine months in seclusion while
>recuperating from the accident.
>
>     [Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
>
>Drugs, man.
>
>     [While sergeants played a marching tune
>
>The Beatles again, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". The sergeants
>are, of course, The Beatles, and their music called a marching tune since
>it's not music for dancing.
>
>     [We all got up to dance
>     [But we never got the chance
>
>Again, there was no music to dance to.
>
>     ['Cause the players tried to take the field
>     [The marching band refused to yield
>
>This refers to the dominance of The Beatles on the Rock and Roll scene.
For
>example, The Beach Boys released "Pet Sounds" in 1966, an album which
>featured some of the same sort of studio and electronic experimentation as
>"Sgt. Peppers", but the album sold poorly because the Beatles release got
>most of the press. The dominance of The Beatles in the Rock world led to
>more "pop art" music and a dearth of traditional Rock and Roll.
>
>     [Do you recall what was revealed
>     [The day the music died
>     [We started singing
>     [(refrain)
>
>     [And there we were all in one place
>
>Woodstock.
>
>     [A generation lost in space
>
>The "hippies" were also frequently called "the lost generation". A common
>term for being under the influence of drugs was "spaced out". 
>
>     [With no time left to start again
>
>"The lost generation's" preference for psychedelia had pushed Rock and
Roll
>so far from Holly's music that it couldn't be retrieved.
>
>     [So come on Jack be nimble Jack be quick
>     [Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
>     ['Cause fire is the devils only friend
>
>It's possible that "Jack" is Jack Kennedy. The previous four lines could
>refer to the Cuban missile crisis, with the "candlestick" representing
>ICBMs and nuclear war.
>
>However, it's also possible that "Jack" is Mick Jagger of The Rolling
>Stones. The Stones released "Jumpin' Jack Flash" in May, 1968, and did
hold
>a concert at Candlestick Park. This would also make sense as a prelude to
>the next four lines.
>
>     [And as I watched him on the stage
>     [My hands were clenched in fists of rage
>     [No angel born in hell
>     [Could break that Satan's spell
>
>While playing a concert at Altamont Speedway in 1968, the Stones appointed
>members of the Hell's Angels to work security (on the advice of The
>Grateful Dead). In the darkness near the front of the stage, a young man
>named Meredith Hunter was beaten and stabbed to death -- by the Angels.
>Public outcry that the song "Sympathy for the Devil" had somehow incited
>the violence caused the Stones to drop that song from their show for the
>next six years.
>
>The last seven lines could, as a whole, be commenting on how The Rolling
>Stones put the final spadeful of dirt on the grave of Holly's Rock and
>Roll.
>
>     [And as the flames climbed high into the night
>     [To light the sacrificial rite
>
>This could be referring to Jimi Hendrix burning his Stratocaster at the
>Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix' drug-related death could be the
>"sacrificial rite", i.e. that drugs were the rite of passage for "the lost
>generation" and they sacrificed not only Holly's kind of music in the
>process but also, frequently, their lives.
>
>     [I saw Satan laughing with delight
>     [The day the music died
>     [He was singing...
>     [(refrain)
>
>     [I met a girl who sang the blues
>
>Janis Joplin.
>
>     [And I asked her for some happy news
>     [But she just smiled and turned away
>
>Joplin died of a drug overdose on October 4, 1970. This follows logically
>from the previous verse.
>
>     [I went down to the sacred store
>     [Where I'd heard the music years before
>
>The sacred store likely means the record store. Early in the song, McLean
>asks "Can music save your mortal soul?", thus record stores would be
sacred
>places. In Holly's time, it was standard practice for record stores to
>allow customers to preview records in the store.
>
>     [But the man there said the music wouldn't play
>
>Two meanings: First, that no one was listening to Holly's music anymore
and
>that kind of Rock and Roll was unavailable at the record stores. Second,
by
>the time "American Pie" was being written, record stores had discontinued
>the practice of previewing records in the store (music previews in the
>store has since resurfaced).
>
>     [And in the streets the children screamed
>
>The many protests of the 60's and the "flower children" being beaten by
the
>police and National Guard troops.
>
>     [The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
>
>The trend towards psychedelia and away from Holly's style of music.
>
>     [But not a word was spoken
>     [The church bells were all broken
>
>This refers to the dead musicians; like broken bells, they can't produce
>any more music.
>
>     [And the three men I admire most
>     [The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
>
>Holly, The Big Bopper, and Valens.
>
>     [They caught the last train for the coast
>     [The day the music died
>
>Obviously, this means that on "the day the music died",
Holly/Bopper/Valens
>left the scene.
>
>     [And they were singing...
>     [(refrain x2)
>
>---- end analysis ----
>
>Some further notes:
>
>"Killing Me Softly With His Song", Roberta Flack's Grammy Award-winning
>single of 1973, was written by Charles Gimble and Norman Fox about McLean.
>
>The Big Bopper's real name was J.P. Richardson. He was a DJ for a Texas
>radio station who had one very big novelty hit, "Chantilly Lace". There
was
>a fourth person who was going to ride the plane. The fourth person lost --
>or perhaps won would be more appropriate -- a coin toss with Richardson to
>see who would get to fly to the next destination and who would have to use
>other transportation. That fourth person was Waylon Jennings, and to this
>day he refuses to talk about the crash.
>
>About "the coat he borrowed from James Dean": James Dean's red windbreaker
>is important throughout the film "Rebel Without A Cause", not just at the
>end. When he put it on, it meant that it was time to face the world, time
>to do what he thought had to be done, and other melodramatic but
thoroughly
>enjoyable stuff like that. Dean's impact on American youth culture at the
>time was similar to Dylon's. Both were a symbol for the youth of their
>time, a reminder that they had something to say and that they demanded to
>be listened to.
>
>
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