“American Pie” manuscript sold for $1.2m

auction

“For more than 40 years I have rambled around every state of the union and many, many countries of the world. My primary interests in life have been America, singing, songwriting, and the English language. I love the English language as much as anything in life and words really do mean something. I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song American Pie so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game. It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music and then was fortunate enough through the help of others to make a successful recording. I would say to young songwriters who are starting out to immerse yourself in beautiful music and beautiful lyrics and think about every word you say in a song.” Don McLean, Feb 13, 2015.

On April 7 2015, Don McLean’s original working manuscript for “American Pie” sold for $1,205,000 (£809,524/€1,109,182) at Christies’ auction rooms, New York, making it the third highest auction price achieved for an American literary manuscript.

Early Don McLean recording of American Pie

This is an early recording of Don singing “American Pie” unearthed from the archives of WMUC radio, a student run station at the University of Maryland.

The station believes the recording originates from spring 1971, well before the song was released for sale as a single. There are some differences between this WMUC recording and the lyrics and music as we know them from the record.

Don  has listened to the recording but doesn’t recall anything about it except to say that, in general, he did “play with the lyrics, just for fun sometimes.”