Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ manuscript makes over one million dollars at auction

Original manuscript for 1971 single sells for £1.2m (£800k)

Don McLean’s transcript for the hit single ‘American Pie’ sold for over one million dollars at auction today.

The transcript sold for $1.2m (£806,000) with the new owner now having access to the meaning behind McLean’s 1971 hit. A 16-page transcript featuring the song’s lyrics, plus notes from the writer and an extra verse which was never recorded, was auctioned by Christie’s in New York.

The identity of the buyer is as yet unknown. However, in an interview with Reuters published before the auction, McLean confirmed that “The writing and the lyrics will divulge everything there is to divulge.”

It has long been established that the start of ‘American Pie’ deals with the death of Buddy Holly, in particular the “The day the music died” line. However, the rest of the song remains a mystery. “I wanted to capture, probably before it was ever formulated, a rock and roll American dream,” Mclean said.

The Telegraph have also published a new, unseen verse that McLean wrote for the song but left off the final version. The new verse includes the lines “And there I stood alone and afraid, I dropped to my knees and there I prayed, And I promised him everything I could give, If only he would make the music live.”

Explaining his decision to sell the manuscript, McLean told Christie’s: “I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song ‘American Pie’ so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game. It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music and then was fortunate enough through the help of others to make a successful recording.”