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February 2013 048 (1024x768)

I remember hearing this song a long time ago on a small-town country station in Louisiana somewhere…but I couldn’t really understand the words…..except the chorus.

This week some time I was sitting in a chiropractor’s office in another part of the country. The local radio station was playing American Pie. I actually was able to hear most of the words…and I almost started crying.

I have heard it said that no one knows what this song means…but…even though it is poetry, I think it is at least partly intelligible….and that is why this song stung me to tears…

———–
Here are the lyrics:
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And, I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance, and…
Maybe they’d be happy for a while
But, February made me shiver with every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep – I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside the day the music died
 
So, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
 
Did you write the Book of Love and do you have faith in God, above?
If the Bible tells you so
Now, do you believe in Rock and Roll? Can music save your mortal soul? And…
Can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Well, I know that you’re in love with him, ’cause I saw you dancing in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes – man, I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely, teenage broncin’ buck with a pink carnation and a pickup truck, but…
I knew I was out of luck the day the music died
 
I started singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
 
Now, for ten years we’ve been on our own and moss grows fat on a Rolling Stone, but…
That’s not how it used to be
When the Jester sang for the king and queen in a coat he borrowed from James Dean
In a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the King was looking down the Jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned – no verdict was returned
And, while Lenin read a book on Marx the quartet practiced in the park, and…
We sang dirges in the dark the day the music died
 
We were singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
 
Healter Skealter in the summer swelter – the Birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight Miles High and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass with the Jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now, the halftime air was sweet perfume while the Sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance, oh, but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field – the marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died?
 
We started singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
 
And, there we were, all in one place – a generation Lost in Space
With no time left to start again
So, come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick – Jack Flash sat on a Candlestick, ’cause…
Fire is the Devil’s only friend
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, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
 
I met a girl who sang the Blues, and I asked her for some happy news
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 lover’s 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 the Holy Ghost, they…
Caught the last train for the coast the day the music died
 
And, they were singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
 
They were singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
 
Songwriter: Don Mclean
American Pie lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
 
————-

Now, of course, there are some things that I don’t understand, like the football jargon (it is football, isn’t it?), but the whole tenor of the song is one of despair in my ears. The symbolic is often unmistakable–and then, here and there, the symbolic mask slips off. I hear this song and hear the writer telling me that the music died the day God abandoned America. Satan won an entire American generation with his Rock n’Roll and rendered helpless both the voice of the church and of God himself. America and that which is American died the day God left on that lonesome train. The good ol’ boys sit there drinking their whiskey, knowing their time and the America that they represent is fast disappearing. Meantime, the generation captured by Satan, socialism, and Rock n’Roll rage in helpless despair against the one who, through an appearance of harmless entertainment, captured them, changed their country, and widowed the church, silencing its voice of hope and love. The church, like the captured youth, became enamored with the rhythm of the Jester–so she lost her King. And the music died.

But, did it?

No. The music lives on. The Triune God has not retreated before the clever tactics of the Devil. America may no longer call herself “a Christian nation”–but God is here–and he is not silent. Love and hope and joy and freedom from the fiery spell of Satan are still here–the Holy Spirit quenches those flames even today. The author of these lyrics may not know nor acknowledge these things, but the music has not died–nor has that train left for the coast. New songs of praise yet arise from the barren soil of America…the voice of hope still calls in the wilderness… And it is Christ alone who bore the thorny crown and died for his people out of his own free love. The Devil’s imitation death is only another trick of the deceiving Jester to capture slaves, as so many have found out too late….

Yes, there is hope. My God has not gone away. And the music lives on….

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