Don McLean wrote the song about the day the music died
Biography and Guitar Lessons
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Don McLean is an American singer-songwriter most famous for his 1971 songs American Pie and Vincent.
McLean’s career as a recording artist started only two years prior to American Pie. With the album, Tapestry, Don McLean entered the folk scene where he made friends with Pete Seeger and joined the circuit.
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.
McLean delivered American Pie and became world-famous almost overnight.
American Pie tells the story of the day the music died!
American Pie is a single by Don McLean from the album with the same name about “the day the music died”, a reference to Buddy Holly’s death.
A lyrical masterpiece, American Pie tells the story of how Don McLean, as a paperboy, finds out that three of his musical heroes have died.
The deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper from a plane crash on February 3rd ’59 may have been described in many ways, but no one ever forgets to mention Don McLean’s classic American Pie, in which the story is told so beautifully through a song.
Don himself says “It’s not analysis, it’s poetry.”
When asked what the song meant to him, he answered grinning “It means I never have to work again”.
American Pie – Step 1 (Free Preview)
Let’s put Don McLean’s American Pie under the microscope, we start with the chorus.
Go to American Pie step 1.
American Pie – Step 2
Instead of memorizing it, aim to hear the movement of the chords by imagining the melody.
Go to American Pie step 2.
American Pie – Step 3
This is played in free time, meaning you slow down and speed up for extra emotional effect.
Go to American Pie step 3.
American Pie – Step 4
See this as me holding your hand as we play it. In the next step we start working on a 2nd guitar part, that way we can start a band.
Go to American Pie step 4.
American Pie – Step 5
We start with the chorus as this is the easiest part of the song to play.
Go to American Pie step 5.
American Pie – Step 6
Aim to sync this with the first guitar which is supplied as a loop for your practicing pleasure.
Go to American Pie step 6.
American Pie – Step 7
The loops are played to a click in order to make this possible.
Go to American Pie step 7.
American Pie – Step 8
The question is, can you make it work along with me and the singer?
Go to American Pie step 8.
Chords and Guitar Lessons
By hearing each chord as a number you can follow the vocal melody and don’t actually have to memorize the progression.
Go to American Pie lyrics.
Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.
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