American Pie

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

And as the flames climbed high into the night, To light the sacrificial rite

I saw Satan laughing with delight

The day the music died He was singing...


(Verse 6) I met a girl who sang the blues

And I asked her for some happy news But she just smiled and turned away

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

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

And the three men I admire most The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

They caught the last train for the coast

The day the music died

And they were singing...

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There was a fourth person who should have been on the plane. There was room for three, and the fourth person lost the toss -- or should I say won the toss. His name is Waylon Jennings. Jennings was the bass player for Holly's band at the time. Some people say that Holly had chartered the plane for his band, but that Valens and/or Richardson was to replace Jennings who was sick that night.

About the "coat he borrowed from James Dean": James Dean's red windbreaker is important throughout the "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. The week after the movie came out, nearly every clothing store in the U.S. was sold out of red windbreakers. Remember that Dean's impact was similar to Dylan's: both were a symbol for the youth of their time, a reminder that they had something to say and demanded to be heard.

Some figure that if Holly had not have died, then we would not have suffered through the Fabian/Pat Boone era... and as a consequence, we wouldn't have "needed" the Beatles ( I have strong arguments opposing that opinion). Holly was quickly moving pop music away from the stereotypical boy/girl love lost/found lyrical ideas, and was recording with unique instrumentation and techniques...things that Beatles would not try until about 1965 (although I still credit the Beatles with all the musical revolutions). Without Holly's death, perhaps Dylan would have stuck with the rock and roll he played in high school and the Byrds never would have created an amalgam of Dylan songs and Beatle arrangements.

This interpretation of American Pie has been around many years and can be found both in print as well as a  number of sites around the www.

The following was posted in the Usenet group as to the name of the plane.

Bill Bugge posted the following:

OK, here's the answer. I e-mailed Paula Major who lives in Lubbock, Texas and asked if I could publish her response. Here's my e-mail to her and her reply:

Hi Paula,

You haven't been around in awhile, but I believe you're the one to settle a question which has come up in the 50's group (see @@@Type of plane that
carried Buddy@@@). Was the plane named "American Pie"? You could directly post your answer or could e-mail me. If you e-mail, please say if it's OK to publish in the group.

C'mon back.

Bill Bugge

Howdy Bill,

I wish I had time for the old ng but I am already going 18 hours a day with no let up in sight!!

Anyway, Bill Griggs, who is the most knowledgeable person in the world about Buddy Holly, says it is all a rumor because of the song "American Pie" that Don McLean did. The plane didn't have a name just a number, (A Beechcraft Bonanza, Number N3794P). This is one of those "legends" that just never stops but it's
not correct.


ps - you can post this.

Jim Colegrove posted this:

Bill Griggs is quoted often in the book, "The Day The Music Died" by Larry Lehmer, Schimer Books, 1997, ISBN 0-02-864741-6, the story of the Winter Carnival tour. No evidence or support of the plane being called "American Pie" is contained in this book. In fact, the book says the plane was " ...a Beech Bonanza, model 35, S/N-1019, identification N3794N, was manufactured October 17, 1947."

Jim Colegrove

American Pie Myth

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