American Pie chords



You can learn how to play American Pie by Don McLean!

American Pie was the first single and most successful song by American singer-songwriter Don McLean.

Telling the story of the day the music died, American Pie has become legendary, earning the #5 spot on RIAA’s list of “Songs of the Century”.

Below you find all the chords and lyrics for this most epic song.


American Pie chords and lyrics


| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em D Dsus4 | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
A long long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.
| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em C | D Dsus4 D Dsus2 |
And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance, and maybe they’d be happy for a while.
| Em Am | Em Am | C Gsus4/B Am | C D |
But February made me shiver, with every paper I’d deliver, bad news on the doorstep, I couldn’t take one more step.
| G D/F# Em | C D | G D/F# Em | C D | G |
I can’t remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride, but something touched me deep inside, the day the music died.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
So bye-bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die.

| G | Am | C | Am | C | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
Did you write the Book of Love and do you have faith in God above, if the Bible tells you so.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C | Em | Am | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
Do you believe in rock n’ roll, can music save your mortal soul, and can you teach me how to dance real slow.
| Em | D | Em | D |
Well, I know that you’re in love with him, ’cause I saw you dancing in the gym.
| C Gsus4/B | Am | C | D Dsus4 |
You both kicked off your shoes, man I dig those rhythm & blues.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C |
I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck, with a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
G D/F# | Em | C | D | G C | G D Dsus4 |
but I knew I was out of luck, the day the music died.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
So bye-bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die.

| G | Am | C | Am | C | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
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.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C | Em | Am | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
When the Jester sang for the King and Queen, in a coat, he borrowed from James Dean, in a voice that came from you and me.
| Em | D | Em | D |
Oh, and while the King was looking down, the Jester stole his thorny crown.
| C Gsus4/B | Am | C | D Dsus4 |
The courtroom was adjourned, no verdict was returned.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C |
And while Lenin read a book on Marx, the quartet practiced in the park,
| G D/F# | Em | C | D | G C | G D Dsus4 |
and we sang dirges in the dark, the day the music died. We were singing.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
Bye-bye Miss American Pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die.

| G | Am | C | Am | C | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
Helter Skelter in a summer swelter, the birds flew off with a fallout shelter, eight miles high and falling fast.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C | Em | Am | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
It landed foul on the grass, the players tried for a forward pass, with the Jester on the sidelines in a cast.
| Em | D | Em | D |
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume, while the Sergeants played a marching tune.
| C Gsus4/B | Am | C | D Dsus4 |
We all got up to dance, oh but we never got the chance.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C |
‘Cause the players tried to take the field, the marching band refused to yield.
| G D/F# | Em | C | D | G C | G D Dsus4 |
Do you recall what was revealed, the day the music died. We started singing.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
Bye-bye Miss American Pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die.

| G | Am | C | Am | C | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
Oh, and there we were all in one place, a generation lost in space, with no time left to start again.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C | Em | Am | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D Dsus4 |
So come on, Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack Flash sat on a candlestick, ’cause fire is the devil’s only friend.
| Em | D | Em | D |
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage, my hands were clenched in fists of rage.
| C Gsus4/B | Am | C | D Dsus4 |
No angel born in Hell, could break that Satan’s spell.
| G D/F# | Em | Am | C |
And as flames climbed high into the night, to light the sacrificial rite,
| G D/F# | Em | C | D | G C | G D Dsus4 |
I saw Satan laughing with delight, the day the music died.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
He was singing, bye-bye Miss American Pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die.

| G D/F# Em | Am C | Em D | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news but she just smiled and turned away.
| G D/F# Em | Am Em | Em C | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
I went down to the sacred store, where I’d heard the music years before but the man there said the music wouldn’t play.
| Em Am | Em Am | C Gsus4/B Am | C D | 2/4 Dsus2 D |
And in the streets the children screamed, the lovers cried and the poets dreamed. But not a word was spoken, the church bells all were broken.
| G D/F# Em | C D | I D/F# Em | C D | G |
And the three men I admire most, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day the music died. And they were singin’.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
||: Bye-bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die. This’ll be the day that I die. :|| And they were singing.

| G C | G D | G C | G D |
Bye-bye, Miss American Pie, drove my chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry.
| G C | G D |
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye,
| Em | A7 | Em | D Dsus2 D | Dsus4 D Dsus2 D |
singing this’ll be the day that I die.


American Pie chord progression

The chord progression can be tricky to remember since the same chords seem to be repeated in lots of different ways.

Thinking of them as numbers really will help as every number has a sound. If you can tap into this, you can hear where the progression wants to move next.

On my top 10 chord progression list, American Pie can be found in three positions.

  • #1 spot – The I – IV (GC)
  • #2 spot – The IV – V (CD)
  • #10 spot – The VI – II (EmAm)

One of the chords in the song is an X chord (a chord that should have been minor but has been changed to major), can you spot which one? Can you hear it?


American Pie in the course

In the intermediate acoustic guitar course, we learn how to play this song in eight steps. First on just one guitar, then we change the key and use a capo to create a 2nd guitar part.

Learn this 2nd guitar part and we can play the song together with the singer, like a band. Maybe you’ll even sing along in the chorus!


American Pie – 8 Guitar Lessons

What’s more epic than American Pie?!? This lyrical masterpiece must be played to be fully appreciated.

Let’s break down each section, practice to loops, and then finally, invent a 2nd guitar part.

Go to American Pie – 8 Guitar Lessons.


American Pie – Lyrics

A long long time ago,
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance,
and maybe they’d be happy for a while.

Go to American Pie lyrics.


Don McLean – Biography

Don McLean is an American singer-songwriter most famous for his ’71 songs American Pie and Vincent.

When McLean’s indie label Media Arts got sold to United Artists, he got an unexpected chance to make his second album for a major label.

Go to Don McLean – Biography.


Intermediate Acoustic – 16 Songs

Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Songs

You can learn how to play these 16 intermediate acoustic songs!

A Change Is Gonna Come, American Pie, Angie, Babylon, Blowin’ In The Wind, Dreadlock Holiday, Fast Car, Hey There Delilah, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I’m Yours, Kiss Me, Mad World, Red, Starman, Sunny Afternoon, and Whistle For The Choir.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.


The professional guitarist Song Book

The greatest asset you as a guitarist can acquire is a repertoire.

If you start with learning all these songs, there’s a good chance you won’t have to learn many more when a gig with a new band appears.

Go to Song Book.


Copyright

Studying great songs is the best way for a musician to develop, we believe displaying chords and lyrics falls under “fair use in education”.

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