Monday, December 6, 2004

The song “American Pie,” by Don McLean has been heavily analyzed since it was first released in 1972. As with many popular songs containing largely symbolic lyrics such as “Stairway to Heaven” or “Hotel California,” the song’s meaning is examined and often misinterpreted. Of the three, “American Pie” is the song with the most widely accepted interpretation. However, close examination of an early draft of “American Pie” reveals the song’s true meaning. Without the confusion of vague metaphors and mythology in later drafts, one sees how the song’s simple message has been misunderstood for more than thirty years.

“American Pie” (the first draft)

A long, long time ago
I watched Bill’s TV show
And prayed he’d never build a time machine
’Cause I knew that if he had the chance
He’d charm my teenage mom out of her pants
And keep me from ever being conceived

But my faith in God was shattered
When Bill Nye studied antimatter
I began to panic
When he learned quantum mechanics

I swear I almost shit my pants
When I saw him make those neutrons dance
I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance
If Bill went back in time

So Bill Nye the Science Guy
Was sooner or later gonna travel through time
And hit my mom with some bad pickup line
Saying “Hey there, baby, your place or mine?”

I never knew who my father was
I never asked my mom because
She always kind of freaked me out.
One day she looked deep into my eyes
Said my dad was the kid from “Family Ties”
But I knew she was telling sweet, sweet lies

I chalked it up to all the LSD
She took when she was pregnant with me
I though it was senility
A scientific impossibility! (Whoo!)

Back at his lab on the very same day
Bill made a time machine out of a Chevrolet
I knew he’d take my life away
The day Bill traveled time

I started screaming:
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Was gonna travel back in time to my mom’s junior high,
And keep my dad from ever catching her eye
Nothing could stop him but I still had to try.

I jumped in the back of Bill’s car
With fungus in a jelly jar
I had a plan to save the day
When we got there I ran in my mom’s house,
Slammed the door and locked him out
He wouldn’t keep my dad from getting laid.

I found my mom and used my confection
Designed to give her a yeast infection
She said she’d seen me somewhere before
But then a knock came at the door

I looked out the window, didn’t trust my eyes
A DeLorean was parked out in the drive
And I knew that I would stay alive
Even if Bill came inside

He got there too late

Bill Nye the Science Guy
Drove his Chevy to my Mom’s house
But my mom was too dry
He came back from his car with a tube of K-Y
And walked in on her with Marty McFly.

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