Monday, June 17, 2013

American Pie


When it first hits the air waves and the charts, it was simply a sensation! I can remember being at WRVU and the song being requested over and over again by our listeners.

It was "AMERICAN PIE" by singer/songwriter Don McLean. It became the number one hit for four consecutive weeks in 1972 on both the rock and roll and easy listening rankings.  Requested by Evy Kay Rhodus Washburne for inclusion on our Centennial Class 40th Reunion CD, AMERICAN PIE was partly auobiographical for McLean And it was inspired by the tragic plane crash that killed rock legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper). At 8:36 in length, it is the longest song to ever make Number #1 and some stations only played one side of the 45 rpm record at a time (about half the song) to make it better fit a tight format.

Regardless, in 2001, the song was selected Number #5 in a poll of the top 365 Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts (behind "OVER THE RAINBOW", "WHITE CHRISTMAS, "THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND" and "RESPECT").

Here, courtesy of YouTube, here is the full-length version of AMERICAN PIE.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tr-BYVeCv6U

I don't remember Don McLean performing at Vanderbilt while we were there. But he did come to Nashville while we were in school. It was March, 1973 when the city hosted the Grammy Awards (I think for the first time) at the old Tennessee Theatre downtown...


All these photos are from THE TENNESSEAN, including this one of McClean performing on the Grammy TV show.....

I doubt any of us were in the audience that night at The Tennessee Theatre. Who could have gotten access to or afforded the tickets at our age, right? Well, maybe Steven Greil. After all, if you can get the Grateful Dead to come to your school for a concert, who knows what else is possible!

No, I suspect that very same night when Nashville hosted the Grammys in March, 1973, almost all of us were in the photo below....Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym....for our last home basketball game as seniors. That's when we smashed Ray Mears and the Big Orange of the University of Tennessee....

 


Actually it was quite a good show we missed at the Grammys. Here's a collage of the country music
royalty in attendance that night, along with Aretha Franklin and Helen Reddy accepting awards....
 
 
 
 
 

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