Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Day the Music Died

Today marks the date on which the plane carrying 3 of America’s greatest pop artists of their time crashed, killing all three on board. We all know the story of how Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on that plane but gave it up at the last minute. Pretty dramatic stuff considering what happened.

Here is a 1972 performance by Don MacLean of his memorable hit recording “Bye Bye Miss American Pie”, which not only chronicles the events of February 3, 1959, but also goes on to make quite a statement about rock and roll, and the direction it was taking, in the early 1970’s. The Beatles were gone, Dylan was hibernating, and disco was about to explode on the scene at the time Mr. MacLean wrote this lament to a by-gone and seemingly dying era.

See how many of the musical artists you can identify in the song. I have always looked upon “the joker, on the sidelines in a cast”, as being Bob Dylan. The princes and queens all represent other musical acts that, though current, were in Mr. MacLean’s opinion, falling short of the original glory of rock and roll. Hence the refrain - “the day the music died.”

Of course, he was wrong. Disco came and went; country swept the nation during the 1980’s, encompassing rock and leaving the genre forever changed; and the current independent music scene all serve to show that music never really dies. It just changes from time to time. But the good stuff, like cream, always rises to the surface and remains. (There’s a joke in that last sentence – see if you can spot it and let me know.)

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