Forty years ago Don McLean’s long and mysterious American Pie strummed its way into the national consciousness, spending four straight weeks at number one on the charts and later becoming a routine guest at songs-of-the-century galas. Its recondite lyrics have for decades engendered intense scrutiny from fans and journalists, who still play guessing games as to the song’s meaning and inspiration. Art: one of the few surviving secrets in the information age.
Pilgrims looking for answers from the man himself get driven to the levee, which, famously, is dry. Asked what American Pie meant, McLean once replied that it meant he’d never have to work another day in his life.