WTF: Don McLean clears up the origin story of "American Pie" - Reverb

WTF: Don McLean clears up “American Pie” origins

Don McLean's "American Pie" is an iconic, if mediocre song. AP file photo.

Don McLean's "American Pie" is an iconic, if mediocre song. AP file photo.

Well, in case you ever wondered as to the true story behind a kind of average song about the tragic death of three non-average dudes, here you go:

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Don McLean says his “American Pie” was written in Pennsylvania, not in an upstate New York bar that has long laid claim to being the place where the young folk musician penned the lyrics to the 1971 chart-topping song.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls says the 66-year-old singer and songwriter told the newspaper last week that contrary to local lore, he didn’t write the song on cocktail napkins at the Tin and Lint in Saratoga Springs. He also says the first time he performed the song wasn’t at Caffe Lena (LEE’-nuh), a famous coffeehouse around the corner from the bar.

McLean says he wrote “American Pie” in Philadelphia and performed it for the first time at Temple University.

“American Pie” hit No. 1 in the Billboard charts in late 1971.

Still not as interesting as this version:

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  • Mrhighpeek

    Average songs don’t go #1.

  • Georgelee

    Whether you like it or not American Pie was single-handedly  responsible for Buddy Holly’s fame post 1972.