Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey
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,
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.
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.