Tuesday, February 10, 2009

American Pie (no, not the movie)

Last week was the 50th anniversary of the day the music died. A plane crash in Ohio killed three famous musicians. They were all ahead of my musical experience; I was most familiar with the expression and event from Don McLean’s song. I just got out of the navy and was driving back from California to New Jersey. American Pie was released first in the New York area and then spread across the country. As I drove (I think it was four days) I first heard the song in LA and rather infrequently out west, then more and more until it was being played every hour by the New York stations, which was a major commitment because it was a nine minute song. All of those repetitions burned it into my brain and I probably remember all the words even today. The people in the plane crash included:
The Big Bopper

Richie Valens

Buddie Holly (wow, such an excited audience for this performance)

I've grown up on rock and roll and all kinds of music. Watching the above video several times I look at the crowd standing around, the girls in their prom dresses and guys in suits and ties and wonder what it was like for them to suddenly get this new music. In Back to the Future everybody just jumps in when this new sound pops up. But I've also seen movies of record burnings and rants about how this new boogie woogie music would rot the minds and corrupt the morals of our little children (some people are still saying that). So I really cannot put myself in the shoes of these background people, listening to that trio with the tinny guitar singing a song that I just can't dance to.

Of course, we should also put up Don McLean for putting this to music

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