‘American Pie’ Hits #1 On Billboard Charts 50 Years Ago Today

From The History Channel

Fifty years ago today: January 15, 1972, “American Pie,”, an epic poem in musical form that has long been etched in the American popular consciousness, hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

“The story of Don McLean’s magnum opus began almost 13 years before its release, on a date with significance well-known to any American who was alive and conscious at the time. Tuesday February 3, 1959, was the date of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson—a date that would be imbued with transcendent meaning by Don McLean when he labeled it ‘the Day the Music Died.’

“One might reasonably point out that the baby-boom generation has since invested its entire rock-and-roll experience with transcendent meaning, but don’t blame Don McLean for starting the trend. “American Pie” wasn’t written to be a generation-defining epic; it was written simply to capture McLean’s view of ‘America as I was seeing it and how I was fantasizing it might become.’

“When asked to explain what exactly he was trying to say with some of his more ambiguous lyrics, McLean generally declined. Many others applied themselves to the task, however, and even today the Internet bristles with exhaustively reasoned interpretations of “American Pie” and its web of lyrical references to the youth culture of the 1950s and 60s. The meaning of the Stolen Crown and Marching Band may be of interest only to the most obsessive of baby boomers, but almost all of us know the chorus of “American Pie” better than we know our own national anthem, and the chances are good that our great-grandchildren will, too. Which isn’t bad for a song that was written and recorded by a struggling folk singer who merely hoped that it would “earn two or three thousand dollars and make survival for another year possible.”

Buddy Holly Was Born 85 Years Ago Today: Monday, September 7, 1936

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today would have been Buddy Holly’s 85th birthday. He was born September 7, 1936, and was killed in a plane crash on Tuesday, February 3, 1959.

Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas. He was born into a musical family where his mom, two older brothers, and older sister all either played instruments or sang. It was his older brother, Travis Holley, who taught Buddy to play the guitar.

Last Name Misspelled

Buddy’s last name, Holley, was misspelled as “Holly” by a Decca Records employee on a recording contract and he continued to record and tour under that misspelling: Buddy Holly. Buddy performed for the first time on TV in 1952 at 15. He performed locally and in school talent shows until 1955 when he and a friend opened for a young rock and roller, Elvis Presley, who was touring one-nighters by driving across Texas and Louisiana. Elvis so impressed young Buddy that he decided right then that he wanted to be a rock and roll musician. He opened twice more for Elvis and later for Bill Haley and the Comets in rock and roll shows produced by a local disc jockey.

Buddy died after a concert

on the Winter Dance Party tour.

Buddy died after a concert on the Winter Dance Party tour. He, J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson, and 17-year old Ritchie Valens (La Bamba) took a private plane Buddy had rented after the performance in Clear Lake, IA. They were on their way to the next night’s performance at Moorhead, MN. All three musicians and the pilot, Roger Petersen, were killed when the plane crashed (probably from iced wings) in a cornfield just five miles after take-off. When Buddy and the others died, a 15-year old Bobby Vee quickly formed a musical group, “The Shadows,” and performed at the concert that next night in Moorhead, MN. Bobby Vee went on to very successful rock and roll solo career of his own after that night.

Just 22 Years Old

Buddy Holly, one of the most prolific rock and roll stars, was just 22 years old when he died that snowy night in Iowa.

Happy 85th birthday, Buddy Holly.

Here is one of Buddy’s biggest hits: “Raining In My Heart:”