A lot of people have offered various interpretations of Don McLean's "American
Pie". It is one of my favorite songs, and I noticed one time that I could come
up with an off-the-wall interpretation relating it to OSU football. Basically,
this interpretation is that McLean
was prophesizing about the Buckyes. Obviously, this was not the case, and I offer
this in the spirit of fun. The italics are the lyrics of the song:
A long, long, time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew that if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while
The fan is sitting in some time from 1990-2000.
He remembers back to 1978 when Coach Hayes was in charge. The music either
represents the music of TBDBITL or is a metaphor for football success. So McLean
could have either played in the band or played football, and done it well.
But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
In February 1979 the reality that Woody will not be coach anymore strikes him,
and he reads it in the paper and it makes him sad. The widowed bride represents
the football team left without their coach.
So bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey in Rye
Singing this'll be the day that I die, this'll be the day that I die
McLean says goodbye to the old American values that
Woody stood for. Woody drove a Chevy pickup in the mid 70s, which will be useful
again later. The levee is figurative for wins, national championships, etcthey
are not frequent anymore. Or it could be a real levee somewhere on the Olentangy. Ohio was one of the states that originally
produced whiskey. Obviously they're not too pleased about this.
Did you write the book of love and do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll, can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Rock and roll again symbolizes the Buckeyesdo you believe that they are the
most important thing in life or that it is God and traditional religion? Woody
caused some people to question thisthere is a great picture of some fans at Ohio Stadium with a sign that says "God is alive
and coaching at OSU".
Well I know that you're in love with him
Cause I saw you dancing in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely teenage broncin Buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck the day the music died
I started singing
The early parts of this verse don't seem to add up, but the end is brilliant. The writer is a Woody disciple with a pickup truck just like Woody and the carnation
is the state flower of Ohio. But
he is out of luck when Woody gets fired.
Now for ten years, we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
But that's not how it used to be[/i]
This is 10 years after the firing of Hayes--1988. John Cooper is in his first year at OSU, and success is starting to build for the rolling stone(michigan)which
used to not happen.
When the jester sang for the King and Queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me
But while the King was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark the day the music died
The jester is Earle Bruce, and the King and Queen are Woody and Anne Hayes. Earle sang for them, and they liked it! Woody and Anne both continued to support the
program, even though they would have been justified to forget it givven the crappy way they were treated. Earle
is described as a jester(a fool)he was criticized for not dressing sharply enough, but that is the coat he borrowed from James
Dean--a tough guy, a real man. Earle sang for us because we could relate to him(as
we could to Woody). But the King looked down(died) in 1987. When this happened, the jester stole his thorny crown(due to criticism and scrutiny) as the clear leader
of OSU football. Now we jump ahead from March of that year to November, when
Earle was fired. There was court action, but nothing stopped the firing of Bruce(no
verdict). As this happens, Lennon reads a book on Marxobviously depicting evil,
probably michigan studying their past and people like fielding yost and tom
harmon. The quartet practicing in the park could include QBs like grbac, henson,
brady, and griesie, or a group of traitors to Ohio like howard, woodson, grbac,
and massey, or even the fab five minus webber, who left early.
Helter skelter in a summer's swelt
Where the birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass the player's tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
This verse relates to Cooper's first season at Ohio
State. The birds have flown off with
his fallout shelterafter winning the first game and being carried off the field, he had little room for a "honeymoon". The players are trying to advance the Buckeyes, but Earle is not involved and is beaten
up from his fight with the administration.
Now at halftime there was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance but we never got the chance
Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died
We started singing
The sweetest part of the game for fans now are not the game itself, but the
halftime shows. TBDBITL plays, and the people get up to dance, but don't get
to. At the Syracuse game, the band
was told to refrain from playing Hang on Sloopy because the press box was swaying. The
players could never overtake the glory of the band when the game resumed. What
was revealed? The team was not its former self and the Horseshoe was getting
There we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
This generation of Buckeyes is lost, unable to recapture the glory of the past,
and there is no time left for them to do it either.
So come on Jack be nimble
Jack be quick Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil's only friend
Jack refers to John Cooper, his flashy teams, and his inability to stay out
of the fire. Cooper was constantly under siege for something. The devil represents michigan, of course, and this fire is
their only friend.
And as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singing
The "him" on the stage is NOT John Cooper.
Cooper was a lousy coach, but was a genuinely nice man and cared(and still does) about the Buckeyes. Him is Satan, who occupies the lowest ring of hell, which in Dante's Inferno is reserved for traitors. Two choices here--bo schembechler or gary
moeller. Either one is profiting from OSU's trouble and the author is enraged
by it. Not even an angel born in hell, i.e. a Buckeye from michigan,
could break the spell of defeat to them. (Note that it would be an angel born
in hell, Craig Krenzel, who would break michigan's success in 2001). The flames climbing high into the night are from the dumpster fires that were common on campus after the
losses to those degenerates. Satan is laughing with delight at the whole thing.
I met a girl who sang the blues
And asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
Likely Anne Hayes, who turned away(died) in 1992. That was the last link to the days of Woody.
I went down to the sacred store where I'd heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn't play
The store is just a frillthe main point here is that the music, the success,
the victories, the destruction of evil, just weren't happening.
And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But no a word was spoken the church bells all were broken
Here, there is just general sadness in Columbus
and Ohio. The victory bell is broken
and won't ring anymore, at least not against michigan.
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singing
The Father is Woody himself, who died.
The Holy Ghost is Paul Brown, who died in 1991, and because he left OSU during the war and never came back, was always
kind of a lost coach and had a mystique about his OSU days. The Son is Earle
Bruce, who moves on toward the west coach to coach at Northern Iowa and Colorado
Very depressing, but very poignant. Now
happy days are here again, with Coach Tressel playing the role of Coach Hayes(although insufficiently as all mortals would
do) and Maurice Clarett working on joining Harley, Horvath, Janowicz, Cassady, Griffin, Byars, and George at the very highest
levels of greatness.