Unfocused Documentary The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie” Feels Like a Fan Letter
Don’t let the upbeat melody and idiosyncratic lyrics of Don McLean’s 1971 earworm “American Pie” fool you: The song is nothing short of a heart-wrenching, melancholic eulogy. The eight-and-a-half-minute song revolves around the 1959 plane crash that tragically killed young rock stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens—an event which, in McLean’s eyes, also killed early rock and roll and marked America’s descent into civil unrest. That day, McLean repeats throughout the song, was the day that music died. This grim backstory is the premise of Mark Moormann’s unfocused new documentary The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie”. The film looks at the beloved song from a number of angles: We see behind-the-scenes clips of the frustrating recording process, hear the song’s history first-hand from McLean, and receive testimony from artists like Garth Brooks that “American Pie” is the greatest song of all time.
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