About the Songwriter


Chorus, continued

Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' "this'll be the day that I die,
This'll be the day that I die."

The bottles are raised to the good old days, as "them good old boys" of Lubbock, Texas mourn the death of their favorite son, Buddy Holly; these figures could also symbolize a more naïve view of the world. But most significantly, "This'll be the day that I die" is a rewording of the line '''Cause that'll be the day when I die" from the chorus of Holly's hit That'll be the Day, in which the singer fears the worst should his love leave him: for the narrator, his love has left him, and this is McLean's way of both mourning the death of that music and way of life, and pointing to Holly as his symbol of it.

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So "Miss American Pie" represents a simpler, more innocent time in American life, but that time has passed—she is no longer with him. To quote Buddy Holly:

You say you're gonna leave
You know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die.