Caludia copier

Don McLean returns to “American Pie”

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — “Goodbye, goodbye, Miss American Pie. I drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry. These good old boys drank whiskey and rye and sang “this will be the day I die”. This will be the day I die.

For five decades, people from different generations, countries and walks of life have been singing these world famous lyrics, written and sung by Don McLean.

Little did McLean know, his 1971 hit record influenced Grand Rapids in a major way decades later.

“Well, someone said, you know, ‘there’s 5,000 people in Grand Rapids who’ve sung your song and it’s been seen by millions and millions of viewers,'” McLean recalled. “So I checked and said, ‘I couldn’t believe it. It was like a Spielberg video for someone. You know, that’s a great video on its own for the song. And they used a solo version. There are no background musicians in there. It’s just me and the guitar.

It might be hard to believe now, but more than a decade ago, in 2011, Newsweek named Grand Rapids “the most boring city in America.”

Community members responded with a citywide “Lip Dub” to a live version of McLean’s “American Pie.”

LOOK: The Grand Rapids LipDub

Thousands of Grand Rapids community members joined in the eight-minute-plus video, which not only went viral, but also set a new world record for largest lip dub video.

The big May 22, 2011 production reportedly cost tens of thousands of dollars, included a major stop in downtown Grand Rapids, and filled the streets with marching bands, motorcades, and even a few explosives.

Fast forward to Friday, June 17, 2022. McLean brought his 50e anniversary tour behind “American Pie” at DeVos Performance Hall.

On Friday afternoon, Black Pigeon Studios invited McLean to reflect on his legacy and the influence of “American Pie” on the Grand Rapids community.

FOX 17

“I had a chance to look around and it’s just a beautiful city. There’s a lot of vibrancy and youthfulness and the architecture is interesting…I’m excited about tonight…and was happy to do this event,” McLean told FOX 17.

Black Pigeon Studios says the event was “to bridge the gap between Hollywood and Michigan. BPS wants to create an environment where the “Hollywood industry” intersects with local Michigan industry. It’s crucial to the development of Michigan’s film, music, arts community and local economy.

So where does Grand Rapids and its 2011 lip dub fit in to bridge that gap?

“Everything is going to be part of this documentary. It’s history. That’s what the movie is about, really, it’s that trip and then what happened after that. And that’s where the lip dub is included because this is this way,” McLean explained.

50 years after writing the song, McLean is ready to tell the story of “American Pie” with a documentary.

Don McLean

FOX 17

“The documentary is called The Day the Music Died: The Making of Don McLean’s American Pie. It has been under construction for two years. Mark Moormann is the man making the movie. He’s the filmmaker. It’s the brainchild of a man named Spencer Proffer,” McLean told FOX 17.

“Really, the song American Pie and the album, but especially this song, took ten years to be written. It started when I learned of the death of Buddy Holly when I was 15 years old as a newspaper boy Ten years later…Phil Everly told me that Buddy Holly got on a plane because he needed to do his laundry, and when he did that, it immediately changed everything in my head.

“I went home and wrote the opening act for American Pie. I knew I wanted to write a great song about America. I had no idea how I was going to do it. wasn’t going to be like any other song, and it took me three months to figure out where I was going with that.

“It’s a long story, but it’s the story the movie is going to be about, and you’re going to see it as if you’re here on my shoulder, living my life.”

The documentary “The Day the Music Died: The Story Behind Don McLean’s American Pie” is set to be released on July 1.

Follow FOX 17: Facebook – Twitter -Instagram-YouTube