“American Pie,” one of the most recognizable and sing-a-long songs, in which, RIAA named one of the top 5 songs of the 20th century, is an iconic anthem by American singer and songwriter Don McLean. Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was the number-one US hit for four weeks in 1972 starting January 15 after just eight weeks on the Billboard charts (where it entered at number 69). The song also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In the UK, the single reached number 2, where it stayed for 3 weeks, on its original 1971 release, and a reissue in 1991 reached number 12. Now, 50 years later, the song “American Pie” has been re-recorded with McLean and vocal group Home Free. This version is the first studio collaboration ever done by McLean with any other artist, his only other known recording is with Garth Brooks on Brook’s LIVE album, which was recorded at Central Park in New York City.

“Recording American Pie with Home Free was something that I never imagined I would have done,” says Don McLean. “My manager brought me the idea and I was like ok, but I have never collaborated with anyone before and why would I do this. Then I heard their vocal harmonies and it reminded me of The Jordanaires and then found out they don’t sing at all with instruments. What happened in the studio was great, but what happened when they put it all together was magic! I am honored to have worked with these guys and to win, not just one, but three national Telly awards for the music video is just great!!!”

Ed Freeman the original producer of the American Pie album noted, “This is the first “alternate” version I’ve heard in 50 years that I’ve really enjoyed. Don’s singing is as good as ever.” The collaboration’s music video won a Gold Telly in the Best Use of Animation category, a Silver Telly in the Music Video of the Year category, and Silver Telly in the Best Remote Production category.

“We have admired Don’s songwriting for many years and to actually get in the studio with the man that not only wrote the song, but the artist that made it a worldwide anthem was really something you can only dream about,” says Home Free’s Austin Brown. “We did the video remotely due to COVID and making sure we all stayed safe. We never thought that this video would bring home awards, let alone, be so well received by critics and fans. We are humbled and thankful for this opportunity.”

Don McLean began writing the song in Cold Spring, New York, and then continued to finish the song in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. While some have claimed many other places that the song was either written or performed for the first time, McLean confirmed it was first sung at Saint Joseph’s University.

The repeatedly mentioned phrase “the day the music died” refers to the plane crash in 1959 that killed early rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, arguably ending the era of early rock and roll; this became the popular nickname for that crash. However, the overall theme of the song goes beyond its superficial semblance of mourning McLean’s childhood music heroes and reflects the deep cultural changes and profound disillusionment and loss of innocence of his entire generation – the early rock and roll generation – that took place between the 1959 plane crash and either late 1969 or late 1970. The meaning of the other lyrics, which cryptically allude to many of the jarring events and social changes experienced during that period, have been debated for decades.

McLean’s combined version is the fourth-longest song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 (at the time of release it was the longest), in addition to being the longest song to reach number one. Due to its exceptional length, it was initially released as a two-sided 7-inch single. “American Pie” has been described as “one of the most successful and debated songs of the 20th century”, with college courses taught on its lyrics.

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