Today is literally the day the music died: Feb. 3, 1959 was the day The Winter Dance Party came to an end with the crash of a flight that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper.
I listened to Don McClean's chronicle American Pie many times as a kid before I came to appreciate the rock-and-roll history it portrayed.
Its sad high school imagry and mentions of poets dreaming and the like appealed to me first, especially since the initial recording I made from the radio--and listened to repeatedly--was missing several early lines.
Since "American Pie" and "MacArthur Park" used to be the songs of choice for DJs needing a bathroom break because of their extended length, even missing a few lines, my tape had plenty of song left - several rounds of the chorus and many of the richest allusions.
Only after many listens did I start to learn it referred to Buddy Holly and his lost companions. I had to age a little more to fully appreciate their impact and what McClean was really singing about.
My iPod On-the-Go Playlist today:
"And they were singin' bye, bye..."