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I know I just asked a question yesterday, but I think I speak for a lot of disenchanted 70’s loving hanger-ons when I ask what did Don McLean truly mean when he wrote American Pie?

Great Question John,
To truly answer this question, once must do a thorough line-by-line analysis of this American rock classic:

don_mclean-american_pie-frontal[Intro]
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
Mclean originally set out to write Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but due to lack of talent and have never seen a movie, he wrote this riddle wrapped within an enigma instead. 

 

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

Mclean thought a lot of himself, despite the aforementioned lack of talent and imagination. 

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver

Mclean was an enormous pussy. 

Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

Mclean would often be seen gazing at newspapers or any piece of paper for hours on end, a motionless husk of a human being. It would later be revealed this is becasue his parents were first cousins. 

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride

Mclean is the first reported case of Aspergers syndrome. 

But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

Mclean would often touch himself in times of emotional crisis. He was only invited to one funeral in his life!

[Chorus]
So bye-bye, Miss American Pie

An homage to the American tradition of objectifying food and eating women. 

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

An allegory for the complete arid environment that has become the American soul. 

drunk hillbillysAnd 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”

Representational of America’s collective malaise and desire to simply be drunk until we meet our maker. 

 

[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll
Can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

awkward promThis verse is an homage to Mclean’s love of going to proms well into thirties. However, the man had standards, and would only take girls that could answer these questions correctly. The answers are as follows: Yes, No, What, Maybe, I mean are you asking if it exists, no only Jerry Falwell can, yes, but it’s very illegal. 


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 and blues

At Mclean’s 37th prom which ironically was on his 37th Birthday, his date Linda Sue made up with her old boyfriend while Mclean was learning tips from the musical director chaperoning the event. Instead of causing a scene Mclean took a fifth of jack into a far corner and masturbated while weeping.

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

This is Mclean’s testimony on the stand when being tried for statutory creepiness. 

[Verse 2]
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

Mclean was often known for having no concept of physics, biology or reality. The verse, but that’s not how it used to be was added by his manager in hopes people would believe Mclean’s new claims on the natural order of the universe and be scared shitless by the repercussions. 

eva braunWhen the jester sang for the king and queen

The jester being Eva Braun

In a coat he borrowed from James Dean

Braun was a notorious kleptomaniac and a man 

And a voice that came from you and me

And Ursula from the Little Mermaid

Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

A verse supposedly about Elvis Presley again changed by his Mclean’s manager. The original verse was “Oh, and while the King shot his television, Prsilla was sticking her head in an oven, the mascara ruined the chicken, time for karate!” 

wolverinesAnd while Lenin read a book on Marx
A quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

I won’t even dignify this dirty commie lyric. WOLVERINES!!!!!

 

[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast

Mclean was one of the earliest users of recreational agent orange. On weekends, he would go to the back of various wild preserves and release the explosive toxin on unsuspecting wildlife. 

It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

joe_namath_brady_bunch_sports-650x481Once again Mclean’s insanity had to be drawn in. He wanted to pay homage to Joe Namath, but specifically Namath’s work on the Brady Bunch. I was once again able to grab tear sheets from Mclean’s original notes. “Marsha had a fantastic ass. But Bobby’s is top class. Joe Namath smiled last.” 

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume

Marijuana

While the sergeants played a marching tune

The Beatles

We all got up to dance

Screw

Oh, but we never got the chance

AIDS

Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield

Because the marching band kids were tired of being ostracized and asked to prom by only Mclean. 

Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

Mclean’s go-to line after prom

[Verse 4]
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again

evil-moonHere Mclean poetically warns of the dangers of space travel thinking the universe was flat and we would all be eaten by the moon if we got too close. 

So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

Butt sex

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

Mclean is referring to his first Liberace concert. Rhinestones angered Mclean even more than being stood up for prom. 

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

Using Nostradamus like powers, Mclean predicted the fate of Michael Jackson’s hair when he would endorse Pepsi products. 

[Outro]
I met a girl who sang the blues

Mclean asked her to prom 

And I asked her for some happy news

Like  would you go to prom with me?

But she just smiled and turned away

She didn’t smile

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

CharoThis was a bodega  where Mclean would go to buy dime bags of meth. They didn’t have any Charo music, Mclean killed the owner. 

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed

Poets were notorious dicks in the 60s and 70s and would often ignore the screams of small children so they could keep playing their bongo drums. 

But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

Quasimodo was a huge influence on Mclean’s style. 

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost

Rip Taylor, Charles Nelson RIley and Richard Nixon

They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

God has abandoned us all for a universe he created in 5 days with 3 days of rest.