To Orwell Today,

To Jackie Jura,

Stop what you're doing right now and go to the website: Understanding American Pie

It provides a line-by-line meaning of the lyrics based on interviews with Don McLean.

Next -- remove all your erroneous interpretations because not only are they poorly thought out, they are an embarrassment to your credibility as a researcher in general.

I love your website and your work analyzing '1984'. Your work and your writing has had profound effects on my life. Your work and insight have given me hope and purpose -- I have a deep respect for you, but it is being undermined by your juvenile approach at interpreting 'American Pie'.

Please take 10 minutes and go to the website I provided -- it will wake you from your slumber.

Respectfully yours,
Jason -- a huge Jackie Jura fanboy

Greetings Jason,

The website link you sent is an interpretation of the AMERICAN PIE song by someone -- Jim Fann -- who has no more information about it than anyone else. You're mistaken when you say his meaning of the lyrics was based on interviews he had with Don McClean because he's had none. As Fann says, in his "author" section, he was relying -- when trying to discern what the songwriter had most likely intended -- on the few comments McLean has made about American Pie over the years. They were not made personally to him. And anyway, all McLean's ever said about the song -- as quoted in Fann's conclusion -- is "it's a complicted parable -- intentionally ambiguous -- having to do with the state of society at the time".

Fann's website does an interesting job explaining the indisputable facts of the lyrics -- ie the names of the musicians and words to their songs used by McLean in his song and also in putting the social and political events of the times into context.

Actually, if you read his analysis carefully -- it will take more than ten minutes -- you'll notice his premise is the same as mine in that the lyrics describe a satanic communist take-over of America -- or in Fann's words, a radical counterculture revolution on the status quo.

Note, before reading:

Karl Marx is author of the books THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO and DAS KAPITAL describing COMMUNISM and CAPITALISM -- tyrannical political systems to the left and right of SOCIALISM, a utopian, democratic system -- "of, by and for the people" -- upon which America was founded. Adherents of COMMUNISM and CAPITALISM know their systems are repugnant to working-class people -- the backbone of every nation -- so they use the word SOCIALISM as a disguise. They also use the word "left" (euphemism for communism) for the same reason. ~jj

The Beatles were not part of the counter-culture movement (euphenism for anti-culture) until Yoko Ono -- an extreme counterculture communist/capitalist agent -- entered John Lennon's life, after which the Beatles broke up and Lennon was exploited to advance the Marxist/Leninist agenda. However, by the time of his death in 1980 -- as can be heard in his last album DOUBLE FANTASY -- Lennon was escaping his bondage and "STARTING OVER". It was shortly after this he was assassinated and an innocent "patsy" -- as in the assassinations of JFK and Bobby Kennedy -- was framed. ~jj

Below I've bolded and underlined the pertinent passages from the website you sent.

by Jim Fann


It is across this decade that the American cultural landscape changed radically, passing from the relative optimism and conformity of the 1950s and early 1960s to the rejection of these values by the various political and social movements of the mid and late 1960s.... The civil rights and antiwar and countercultural and woman's and the rest of that decade's movements forced upon us central issues for Western civilization -- fundamental questions of value, fundamental divides of culture, fundamental debates about the nature of the good life.

Verse 3

Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
Oh, and while the King was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book of Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

...Though this verse takes place between the years 1963 and 1966, these first lines look back from the year 1970 -- ten years or so after Holly's death. "A rolling stone gathers no moss" is an old cliche used to describe someone who never puts down roots, but here the cliche is turned on its head, reflecting how the wholesale rejection of conventional values had become commonplace by 1970 -- and that's not how it used to be. This line also foreshadows the uprooting anarchy that the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger symbolizes later at the song's climax in verse 5. To quote Bob Dylan: "How does it feel/To be without a home/Like a complete unknown/Like a rolling stone?"

As the sixties revolution builds, rock moves towards a more political and social role, mirroring the changing political climate that would increasingly come to embrace a kind of socialism for America -- hence (John) Lennon (of the Beatles, of course) reading a book on (Karl) Marx. And as the writings of Marx proved so influential in Russian leader Vladimir Lenin's thinking and his role in the Russian Revolution of 1917, the idea of a cultural revolution in the works is obvious.

Verse 4

Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul out on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the Sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
'Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died

We now move into the most explosive period of the radical sixties, between the years 1966 and 1969. Where only a few years before the social and political system had been solid (if a bit petrified) and largely unchallenged, by this time it had begun to come considerably undone; an unpopular, ill-defined war in Southeast Asia only served to fan the flames. Increasingly, the established American culture itself was being viewed as an enemy in need of transformation, and this generation responded by growing more and more revolutionary....

As the sixties revolution gathered momentum, the youth movement itself also gathered more players, as the more organized and pragmatic unity of the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (largely represented by the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS], and more or less symbolized by Bob Dylan in verse 3) began fragmenting into the Women's Rights, Black Power, Antiwar and Counterculture movements; the Progressive Labor and Revolutionary Youth Movements; as well as their militant sub-factions: the Black Panthers, The Weathermen, Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers (yes, that was their name) -- all seeking, to one degree or another, to influence the course of American culture. But of all of these it is the Counterculture that looms largest in our memory. Though they did not achieve much politically, their style of dress and behavior were enormously influential, as were the drug, sexual and spiritual freedoms they espoused -- all of which were in-your-face affronts to the more staid, traditional values of the status quo. And it was their philosophies of peace and brotherly love -- vague and ill-formed as they were -- that seemed to best characterize this generation at this time, at least in the eyes of the general public.

In light of the growing conflicts of this period a football field is an appropriate setting, a battlefield on which the radical youth culture players and the forces of the establishment clash. But once again we find the songwriter mixing his metaphors, using the "marching band" to symbolize both the Counterculture (the Beatles) and the armed civil militia....

The ball is wild during these years, as the youth culture players begin to aggressively set themselves (the "forward pass") against the government they are attempting to transform; the civil authorities in turn do not take kindly to these challenges (the ball "landing foul on the grass"), and soon come to meet them with a fury of their own. But something of a free-for-all is also ensuing among the many radical political players struggling for field position (the "forward pass") in the American cultural dialogue. The more pragmatic agendas of the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left had by this time begun losing their original cohesion, sprouting the Womens' Rights, Black Power, Antiwar and Counterculture movements; and by decade's end, the more militant groups: The Black Panthers, The Weathermen -- all striving to influence this generation towards their own particular interpretation of how American society should be. But it is the Counterculture, with its wholesale rejection of mainstream values, that comes to hold center stage. The musical players -- Bob Dylan (symbolically representing the New Left/Antiwar contingent); The Beatles (carrying the torch for the Counterculture); and many others (the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, the Byrds, the Rolling Stones), can all be viewed as competing on the playing field of rock 'n' roll, and symbolic of the contending liberal political forces at play during this period.

Verse 5

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation Lost in Space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
'Cause fire is the Devil's only friend
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan's spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

Jack Flash is a reference to the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and their song Jumpin' Jack Flash, in which the protagonist nimbly plays with fire to boast of his freedom. Darkness now reigned with The Stones, as evidenced by their albums Beggars Banquet in 1968 and Let It Bleed in 1969 -- works that embraced a more aggressive nihilism than their previous efforts, and which put them at the forefront of rock's growing cultural estrangement. This allows McLean to use Jagger as representative of someone freely pushing the social envelope and inciting rebellion -- and in direct opposition to the values of a previous era. Given the theme of lost faith that runs through the song -- and in this atmosphere of anything goes -- it is an easy thing to see him as the Devil...onstage at the concert in a flowing red cape. To quote the Stones, "War, children, it's just a shot away".

~ end quoting Understanding American Pie ~

I'm not taking personally your disparagement of my interpretation of AMERICAN PIE as described in my BYE-BYE AMERICA'S PIE and BYE-BYE AMERICAN APPLE PIE articles. I appreciate your sending the website with the interpretation that rings true to you and I'll add your email, and my response, to the ongoing discussion. I think we can all agree that more than the music died in AMERICAN PIE.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

watch SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, The Rolling Stones, 1968, YouTube (Jagger has tattoo of the devil on his chest... John Lennon is in the audience)

watch Don McLean interview before performance in NYC, Sep 7, 2016, YouTube ("...I'm thankful I have songs people still want to hear so I can get jobs...")

Don McLean - a changing world from 'American Pie' to 2016, by Pavlina Osta, Huffington Post, Sep 12, 2016
A long, long time ago, there was a song that defined the feeling of a generation. Forty-five years ago Don McLean creatively told us about the day the music died in his iconic song 'American Pie'. Today, most millennials and even Generation Z's know the 300 stanzas of this song more than the Star Spangled Banner. I met up with Don McLean before his concert in NYC, and asked him all about his life, and of course -- his big hit 'American Pie'!...

'American Pie' singer Don McLean is a 'cruel' racist & abuser, ex-wife claims (court documents reveal horrifying claims about his 'house of horrors'), by Radar, Sep 9, 2016
Rock legend Don McLean is a brutal tyrant who terrorized his kids, starved the family pets - and battered his ex-wife so badly she still suffers post-traumatic stress disorder! Those are the shocking charges Patrisha McLean leveled against the 70-year-old in explosive divorce documents exclusively obtained by

watch Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" appears in new PetSmart commercial, UltimateClassicRock, Jul 12, 2016
It's not hard to find cool uses for Rolling Stones songs in commercials -- see these tequila, car and Olympics spots -- but the latest is really confusing. Watch as 1969's "Sympathy for the Devil" somehow finds a home in a PetSmart tie-in promotion with the new movie THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS. Just remember, as the cute little doggy is prancing through the store, the soundtrack features co-writer Mick Jagger taking a first-person approach to describing Satan's unseen hand in human misery...up to and including the then-recent Kennedy assassinations. "It's a very long historical figure -- the figures of evil and figures of good -- so it is a tremendously long trail he's made as personified in this piece", Jagger told Rolling Stone in 1995. Before it's over, "Sympathy for the Devil" also revisits the trial and death of Jesus Christ, the Russian Revolution and the atrocities of World War II. "It has a very hypnotic groove - a samba -- which has a tremendous hypnotic power, rather like good dance music". Jagger added. "It doesn't speed up or slow down. It keeps this constant groove. Plus, the actual samba rhythm is a great one to sing on, but it is also got some other suggestions in it, an undercurrent of being primitive. So, to white people, it has a very sinister thing about it". Perfect for a commercial featuring cute CGI pets, right? Fans might also recall that this same Keith Richards collaboration was used, with similarly bewildering results, by Mercedes-Benz during the 2011 NFL playoffs. On the other hand, pairing "Sympathy for the Devil" with a promo for a UFC fight made perfect sense, didn't it?


THE DAY THE LENNON MUSIC DIED (I remember exactly where I was when I heard John Lennon had been shot...)

CHINA BUY BUY AMERICA BYE BYE: Mike from Hongcouver says "I think you'll get a kick out of this latest interpretation of the song Bye, Bye Miss American Pie - about how everything we buy, buy in America is MADE IN CHINA.

MORE AMERICAN PIE PLEASE: Digital Trader says "Very interesting analysis of American Pie. I think you're on to something....

Ray says: "With reference to another letter to you on the subject, isn't it strange how some folks live in a dream world, just like ORWELL tried to warn us and we didn't comprehend. Maybe the truth is too obvious...

Joseph says: "Regarding your idea on the Miss American Pie conspiracy, the song is about the day three big rock and roll artists of that time died. Don McLean was a paper boy at the time so that is what he is referring to when he says bad news on the doorstep. It is not about a communist takeover or anything. It is a memorial song to Don's favorite artist and two other artists.

Ron says: "With the 50 year anniversary tomorrow [Feb 3, 2009] of the passing of The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens, I stumbled upon your site. Interesting interpretation of the song, but way over analyzed. Don Mclean wrote this song in 1969, and it is simply about the happenings in the 10 year span from their death to the time of writing...

Holly says: "SO SORRY to disappoint you, but the song AMERICAN PIE is about the death of Buddy Holly. "The Day The Music Died" is February 3, 1959, when Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash after a concert. Mclean was a paper boy during the time hence the lines in the song...

BYE BYE MISS CHEVY PIE: Mike says: "...To anyone with the most remote sense of perception, the song is obviously a story about a wild, partying teenager who drunk and high tries to pass on the shoulder and smashed into a school bus carrying a marching band home from a football game. In the crash, he loses his best friend who was riding shotgun in the passenger's seat. He goes for the plea bargain, serves ten years in the pen where he finds solace in religion. Upon his release, he propositions a hooker, gets turned down then he gets drunk and starts reliving the past and finds himself so racked with guilt and remorse that he immolates himself to death in a hops kiln...."

UNSWEET SIXTEEN AMERICAN PIE: Jannelle says "Your interpretation of Miss American pie is TOTALY wrong... The crap about the devil is just...NOO...HA. A 16 year old girl can figure this out! Come on, whats with this satanic crap, its very OBVIOUS about the singers of such time, nothing about the devil is easily said in there. You got only proof for SOME lyrics, theres ALL the lyrics!!!

Sam says: "...The song by Don McLean is in fact alot different from what you interpreted it as. It's actually about the death of the musician, James Dean. All the things that happen in the song were a document of Don's day when James Dean died. James was Don's idol, and he was crushed.

Raymond says: "...Its also quite ironic that there was a record label called Pye records. I wonder who sat on their board of management....

Amanda says: "...Please stop telling people that the song "Miss American Pie" is satanic. It is a wonderful song that has lyrics which tell a story beyond what most people realize....

AMERICAN PIE NOT AIRPLANE: Matt says "...Every single line of the verses relates to music of the era; bands, their song titles and things they did. The most imortant muscial event he talks about is the crash of the American Pie killing all aboard. This day, Feb 3 1959, was known as "the day the music died" as such prominent musicians died in the plane. Buddy Holly also sang "That'll be the Day"; the chorus contains the line "That'll be the day that I die."...

Raymond says: "...American Pie I believe was about the simplicity of Holly's music. I remember when rock was young BEFORE Elton. Rock n Roll was considered by many as being devil's music. Elvis records were stockpiled and burnt and in later years Beatles also. This fear was entrenched in sections of society along with "the commies are coming"....

Jordan says: "Don Maclean wrote American Pie about the Plane Crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valance and others, and the evil events that followed in the decade after, Helter Skelter. The Band refusing to yield the field refers to the Stanford Cal game. The part where the Father Son and the Holy Ghost caught the last train for the coast is referring to how he felt that God abandoned America. This will be the day the Music dies is referring to Buddy Holly's song That Will be the Day that I Die....)

Raymond says: "...Don McClean included two distinctive insights into American culture. Obviously both very important and descriptive. Bob Dylanist fans have concluded that it's a reference to the King (Elvis) and the Jester (Dylan). Others may see Jagger as jumping Jack (flash). Anyway you pay your money and take your choice. Christians will recognise belief in book of love as God's bible with Jesus as King and jester being imposter or satan. All depends on where one stands or you jives. Long live rock n roll, man! Rock on TOMMY....

Nazim says: "...Your interpretation of the song American Pie I believe is in the category of "in the eye of the beholder" and not what the song writer probably meant, but we will never be sure unless Don McLean himself speaks out, which will still not make your interpretion any less interesting, since art inspires such creativity....

Troy says: "...Your interpretation of American Pie is very strange for I had learned in school that the song was in fact about the tragic plane crash that killed "The Big Bopper", Richie Vallens, and I belive Charlie Parker, though I am not sure about the last name....

Brandon says: "American Pie" by Don Mclean is not about European takeover of native American territory nor is about ecology....

Bobby says: "...I have no idea how you came up with that bullshit but the song American Pie is nothing about whatever the hell you were talking about....

Drews says: "Please, get a life or something. I spoke with Don backstage years ago when I was performing with him. This was all about the death of Buddy Holly. If you can't figure out the rest of the song after these opening lyrics please consult a music historian. Don is laughing all the way to the bank. Don't bother with a retraction but do remember, when all else fails, k.i.s.s....

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~