Wednesday, February 4, 2009

American Pie

In all the delirium of Tuesday's free Grand Slams at Denny's, I'm a day late in acknowledging the 50-year anniversary of what was the inspiration of one of the greatest rock-and-roll songs of all time. Maybe the greatest.

Lubbock rocker Buddy Holly was among four people killed on Feb. 2, 1959 when his Beechcraft Bonanza crahsed after a concert north of Clear Lake, Iowa.

In the 1970s, Don McLean's epic "American Pie" immortalized the crash as the "day the music died." It rose to No. 1 in 1971. It's got the greatest, craziest, most symbolic lyrics and a memorable track of just about any song ever written. And it's long, about eight minutes.

I can certaingly sing along with it, and basically have it memorized. It's a classic.

"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 rememer if I cried when I read about his widowed bride, but something touched me deep inside the day the music died..."

(Good thing for you this doesn't have audio).

Only in the last 20 years or so has Lubbock reached out to its hometown rocker and Lubbock High graduate. When I was at Tech in the late 1970s/early 1980s, it wasn't tht he was ignored, but not much done to recognize one of the real influential musicians of the early rock-and-roll age.

It's easy to wonder how Holly's career would have gone, and what his spot in music history would have been had he lived. He wouldn't have had the impact of Elvis, but he would have been among the true legends, black frame glasses and all.

1 comment:

Whizbang Crochet said...

I was a kid, but I remember "The Day the Music Died". A very sad day (the loss of the Big Bopper and Richie, too). All so great, such a wonderful era, but the Music Died . . . .