American Pie (canzone di Don McLean del 1971)

American Pie è un brano inciso dal cantautore folk statunitense Don McLean nel 1971 ed è la traccia di apertura dell’album omonimo pubblicato nello stesso anno. Pur avendo avuto una carriera lunghissima che vanta oltre 20 album di studio, la fama di McLean è quasi del tutto incentrata sul successo di questo singolo, che vendette solo nella madrepatria ben 3 milioni di copie ed altrettante nel mondo, oltre ad aver ricavato una cifra di oltre un milione di dollari dalla vendita all’asta del manoscritto originale.

Il brano, della durata imponente di 8 minuti e mezzo, racconta strofa per strofa l’evoluzione musicale del rock’n’roll angloamericano di pari passo con l’avanzare dell’età dell’autore, a partire da quando egli aveva 13 anni ed apprese dai giornali del famoso disastro aereo di Clear Lake dove persero la vita in un colpo solo 3 icone quali Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly e Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., andati per un concerto a Fargo, nel Dakota: questo episodio viene rievocato sistematicamente alla fine di ogni strofa con la frase “The day the music died”. Disseminati nelle varie strofe si trovano riferimenti metaforici a tutte le grandi star degli anni ’50 e ’60 come Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Rolling Stones oppure eventi di rilevanza nazionale quali lo Sbarco sulla Luna o il Festival di Woodstock. Tuttavia molti passi di questa canzone sono assolutamente difficili da interpretare e negli anni anche l’autore è dovuto intervenire a più riprese per spiegarne il senso: in essa si mischiano sensazioni personali legate all’adolescenza, all’amore, alla religione ed all’attualità del momento. Rimane in ogni caso una delle grandi testimonianze scritte del XX secolo.

La canzone ritornò prepotentemente alla ribalta grazie alla rivisitazione in chiave pop dance che ne fece Madonna nel 2000 in occasione dell’uscita del film SAI CHE C’È DI NUOVO?, di cui la canzone è il tema principale. La versione di Madonna è dimezzata rispetto all’originale dal momento che vengono riproposte solo le strofe più significative, comunque lo stesso McLean approvò ed incoraggiò il progetto dell’artista italoamericana.

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