By Ramona du Houx
The singer-songwriter Don McLean promises his original notes and deletions will “divulge everything there is to divulge” about his ballad American Pie, according to the Guardian newspaper.
McLean, who lives in Camden, Maine, is auctioning off the original manuscript of American Pie, his ballad that encapsulated the hopes, dreams, and fears of an iconic era. The 16 pages of handwritten and typed drafts include notes and re-workings for the song that went on to become a hit after it was released in 1971. His song is still played and requested on radio stations across the country.
The album American Pie gave McLean two No. 1 hits with Vincent, about the Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, and American Pie. And McLean found he had become an international star.
Christies, the auctioneers, predicted the papers could command around $1.5 million come April, 7th. Bob Dylan lyrics for Like A Rolling Stone sold for just over $2million in 2014. John Lennon’s lyrics for A Day in the Life, previously sold for $1.2million.
American Pie won acclaim as a Song of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The six verses of American Pie tell about the social changes that were reflected in a generation coming of age during the 1960s and early 70s. But many have speculated about some of the meanings behind his words, which has heightened interest over the years.
“I wanted to capture, probably before it was ever formulated, a rock’n’roll American dream,” McLean told the Guardian. “The writing and the lyrics will divulge everything there is to divulge.”
McLean, 69, said he decided to sell the manuscript on a whim. McLean has admitted the beginning of the more than eight-minute song is about the death of singer Buddy Holly, with Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson in 1959.
“The fact that the drafts, the working process of it, are all being offered as this lot makes it a remarkable insight into the mind of Don McLean and into this incredible song that has touched so many people,” stated Francis Wahlgren, the international director of printed books and manuscripts at Christie’s.