On this day in 1972, "American Pie" by Don McLean hit number one on the U.S. Top 40 chart and stayed there for four weeks! Here's a local connection. I saw Don McLean on stage at the Utica Memorial Auditorium back in 1971, singing that song before it became a hit.

McLean was the opening act for Blood, Sweat & Tears, singing a number of songs he had written, including "American Pie". I was a DJ at a top 40 radio station in Utica at the time, and when McLean sang his long version of the song, an another announcer from the station said to me, "Hey, that's going to be a hit". He later asked our program director if he could play it on his radio show. He got the OK, and then stations all over the country began playing it.

The song was so unique; telling the story of "the day the music died", based on an airplane crash that killed rock 'n rollers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and "The Big Bopper" in 1959. The lyrics were all in metaphor, and I recall reading magazine articles about the song with writers trying to figure out what the words meant.

By the way, I recall that once Blood, Sweat & Tears hit the stage, David Clayton Thomas broke a guitar on the very first song he played, "Go Down Gamblin'".

Let's watch Don McLean perform his breakout hit, "American Pie".

It's a classic, and I always look forward to playing it on Oldiez 96.1 - WODZ


More From 96.1 The Eagle