Music News

Documentary about Don McLean's "American Pie" due in 2021 in conjunction with song's 50th anniversary

Credit: Jeremy Westby

Don McLean has some big plans lined up to mark the 50th anniversary of his signature song, “American Pie,” which was released in May 1971.

A documentary titled The Day the Music Died: The Story Behind Don McLean’s American Pie is scheduled for a late-2021 release, while a stage play featuring songs from his back catalog is expected to premiere the following year. An “American Pie” children’s book also is in the works.

The epic, eight-and-a-half-minute tune featured allegorical imagery that appears to chronical key historic and cultural events of the late ’50s and the 1960s.

“I was looking for a big idea to write a big song, about a big country,” McLean tells The Tennessean about what inspired “American Pie.” “And I didn’t want to write ‘This Land Is Your Land’ or ‘America the Beautiful’ or something like that. So I came up with this idea that politics and music influence one another and flow parallel together, forward.”

The 74-year-old singer/songwriter says that the film won’t focus on the specific meaning of the various parts of the tune.

“It’s not poetic, and I don’t want to do it,” he declares. “But I am going to get behind the song, and I’m sure that I’ll reveal a whole lot about just how it was created, and what was going on in my life. It’ll be my story, also.”

Spencer Proffer, the documentary’s producer, says the film will include interviews with artists and celebs who reflect on “what [the song] meant to them then, what it means to them now, and what it will mean to generations in the future.”

As for the musical, it’s being developed by a production team that includes Corey Brunish, whose credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

By Matt Friedlander
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