The Day the Music Died – The Story of American Pie [What to Watch]

I don’t mind admitting that I watched a 94-minute documentary about one song, which sounds crazy at first. But when I tell you that song is Don McLean’s “American Pie,” it all makes sense, right? It’s a classic tune that continues to capture audiences today and tells the story of early rock-n-roll. Learn more about The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie.

“A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.” Whenever I hear that opening line, I can’t help but sing along – I still know every word of the 8+ minute song. And I’m not alone. In The Day the Music Died, artists like Garth Brooks and Brian Wilson discuss why the song remains iconic throughout the decades. Don McLean gives several interviews, including a complete history of the song. You might be interested to know he reveals the identity of the “sacred store” and whether or not Bob Dylan inspired the jester.

The title, The Day the Music Died, was inspired by the lyric from the song, but the lyric was inspired by a headline from February 1959, when fans all over the world learned of a fatal plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper. The documentary revisits the town of Clear Lake, Iowa, where their last concert and the plane crash occurred. This plane crash served as the initial inspiration for McLean’s masterpiece.

Watching a full-length documentary about one song seems ridiculous, but all music lovers should add it to their list. It’s not only entertaining but informative; there were aspects of the song and the 1950s crash that I never knew before. The Day the Music Died is available to stream over on Paramount+.

The story of America – our past and our future. More than just a song or a man, this film is about a cultural moment in America’s history that has followed us from the 1970s. Featuring a new generation of artists, inspired by the same values & ideas that inspired Don McLean in writing American Pie — one of the great musical touchstones of pop music and culture.

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