Music That Makes a Difference 2018

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Don McLean: “American Pie” manuscript sells for $1.2 million

A song that defined a generation.

An 8 minute, 36 second ode to the social upheavals of the 1960s and early 70s.

Now the original manuscript that Don McLean hoped could make people dance is up for sale.

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“It’s the creative process from beginning to end,” Tom Lecky with Christie’s New York said while surrounded by McLean memorabilia. “You see great moments of inspiration. You see him attempting things that, then, didn’t work out. The direction that he was going in that he didn’t want to follow. And so these words that we all know so well and are fixed weren’t fixed in the beginning.”

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16 pages of scribbles and scratches — and the iconic words that made the final cut.

The song became a number one hit in 1972 and has stood the test of time — making the Song of the Century list by the Recording Industry Association of America.

McLean acknowledges the February that made him shiver was about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper — the day the music died.

But much of “American Pie” remains a mystery.

“You can hear it in the coffee shops; it’s ever present,” Lecky said. “And that makes it a work of popular art. It also happens to be a work of high literary art. And it gets constantly discussed and debated about what its lyrics refer to, and what it might mean.”

The original manuscript written by Don McLean for his hit American Pie, set to be auctioned at Christieƕs on April 7, 2015 are on display at the press preview in New York on April 2, 2015. Photo by Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA.COM

Don McLean once said, “Songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.”

His music has always spoken for itself — yet the question remains — “Now do you believe in rock n’ roll, can music save your mortal soul and can you teach me how to dance real slow?”

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Update: An anonymous buyer purchased the manuscript for $1.2 million at auction — making it, perhaps, the priciest slice of pie, ever.

Written and produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN International.”

mclean album

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