Sunday, November 19, 2006

Drove my Chevy to the Levy...
...but the levy was dry...

I remember, back in High School, when Don McLean's song "American Pie" came out, some high school classes assigned students the arduous task of taking apart the song in order to find deep, hidden, conceptual and intellectually cataclysmic insights. Unfortunately, I had no such assignment in my classes. I could never write a good term paper (didn't have the patience) but I think I coulda done myself proud. Actually, in spite of undoubtedly lofty conclusions reached by various students who DID get that assignment, "American Pie" is nothing more than a musical history of sorts...anyway, here, in no particular order, are some lyric quotes from the song and what they 'COULD' mean...

"Eight Miles High and falling fast" could allude to the Byrds, whose last big hit was a song called "Eight Miles High", and after that, even though they existed for a few years after that, their hitmaking days were largely over.

"Sergeants played a Marching Tune" was a cryptic reference to the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album, one of the first cases of deadly serious rock that one couldn't really dance to. Of course, you could probably jump out a 20th story window after listening to "A Day In The Life".

"The players tried to take the field, but the Marching Band refused to yield"
Rock and Roll ceased to be party music and became much more Serious; many a goodtime rock and roller was overtaken by the Sgt. Pepper's "Marching Band". The kids all 'got up to dance' but they 'didn't have a chance'.

"Helter Skelter in summer swelter"
was about that dreadful summer when Charlie Manson and his girl-gang did their thing. Charlie's rationale was that "Helter Skelter" was gonna be happening. All this from a Paul McCartney song that described an English Carnival Ride.

"I Met a girl who sang the Blues" reportedly was about Janis Joplin. "She just smiled and turned away"...turned away in passing, that is.

"Jack Flash sat on a candlestick" was a reference to the Rolling Stones' big 1968 hit. "Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas, Gas, GAS..."

"No angel born in hell could break that Satan's spell"
was a reference to the Stones' Altamont concert, in which the Hells' Angels served as a self-appointed security force, which resulted in a kid getting killed and a lot of concertgoers who got their heads bashed in.

"I saw Satan laughing with delight" could be about the Stones' song, "Sympathy for the devil".

"Fire is the devil's only friend"
could have referred to "Fire", by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown; the opening line of the song is "I am the God of hell-fire, and I bring you FIRE". And, Jimi Hendrix had a song called "Fire", as well. Only, he just wanted to "stand next to it".

"With a pink carnation and a pickup truck"...the 'lonely teenage broncin' buck' in his pickup was wearing a flower previously referred to by Marty Robbins' late-50's hit ("A white sport coat and a Pink Carnation").

"But February made me shiver, with every paper I delivered" The 'bad news on (his) doorstep' was the deaths of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens (oh, Donna...). I felt like that when I heard John Lennon was killed, and 21 years later, with George Harrison's death.

"I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride" Shortly before that fatal last tour, Buddy Holly had just gotten married.

"The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost" may have referred to the three artists who perished on "The Day The Music Died" (see above) In another crash a couple years after that, three country musicians died in an airplane crash; Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Patsy Cline.

"Did You Write the Book of Love" One of the later-50's biggest records was a little ditty by the Monotones, called "The Book of Love". I wonder-wonder-who-da-da-da-oooh (boom) WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF LOVE!?

"Drove my Chevy to the Levy": That Chevy could've been similar to the one featured below, on an old turn-of-the-60's Knudtsen Chevrolet Matchbook cover...

...and who knows, the "Levee" the Chevy was driven to, might have alluded to various School Bond elections here in Coeur d'Alene, which were unceremoniously turned down by area voters in the recent past! That would be an 'educated' guess...


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