Friday, February 5, 2016

caught the last train for the coast






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a WaPo (Washington Post) Reader Comment:


>> [The song] "American Pie" struck exactly the right note at exactly the right moment. 


It was a valediction to a pivotal age. 


I


(and I'll bet a lot of other people)


remember where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard it. 


Those who have grown up in this fragmented age cannot realize the impact that a single song could have. 


I recall walking down Boylston St. following a scruffy long hair who sang as he strolled, "Bye Bye Miss American Pie..."  Striding in the opposite direction was a well-dressed businessman who picked right up "...Drove my Chevy to the levee...".  Could that happen with any song today?





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A long long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile


And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while


But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step


I can't remember if I cried
When I -


Read about his widowed bride -- 


Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.




So, bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' -- this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die


[allegro]


Did you write the Book of Love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so


Do you believe in rock and roll
Can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?


Well, I know that you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancin' in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm & blues
I was a lonely, teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singin'


Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy





to the levee
But the levee was dry
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die




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


In 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 on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died --


We were singin' --


Bye - bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die




Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul 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 muuu--ssic died --




We started singing --
Bye-bye Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die --


This'll be the day that I die




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 flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died


He was singing -- bye-bye Miss America Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die






[slow down, softly, thoughtfully]


I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away


I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn't play


And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken




And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.








And they were singin' --


Bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this'll be the day that I die


This'll be the day that I die...


[chorus of voices joins in, tempo up, a little faster and stronger]


They were singin'
Bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singing this'll be the day that I die!





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