I’ll Follow You Into the Dark

I don’t know who this guy is, but he really nails it. Just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. By appearance, you’d never expect this wonderful voice and guitar styling. Just a wonderful cover of the Death Cab for Cutie song.

American Pie

“American Pie” is forty years old. Written and recorded by Don McLean, it is the longest song to ever reach #1 on the charts. At 8 minutes and 38 seconds, it topped the charts on January 15, 1972 and remained there for four weeks.

It is one of a handful of songs that was so memorable upon first hearing, that I still remember the exact time and place of my initial exposure to the song. To say that it was, and is, jaw-dropping is damning with faint praise. I still cannot listen to this song without being transported across time and space to the moment of first hearing it, and I am still awestruck with the poetry and the majesty of the song.

Don McLean’s album American Pie was released in 1971, containing the song that was to become a part of music history. While a young boy delivering newspapers, Don clearly remembers reading about Buddy Holly’s fatal plane crash, along with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. In his stack of papers for February 3, 1959, Holly’s profound effect on McLean was indelible and, 12 years later, was the genesis of “American Pie.”

“American Pie’s” lyrics have been interpreted, dissected, diagrammed, discussed, debated, and pored over, much like lyrics to songs by Bob Dylan or the Beatles.

Common theories about “American Pie” lyrics include:

While the king was looking down, the jester stole his thorny crown. The “king” is Elvis Presley and the “jester” is Bob Dylan.

And moss grows fat on a rolling stone. About a slightly overweight Mick Jagger in a too-small stage outfit.

Lenin read a book on Marx. About John Lennon and Karl Marx. Alternatively, John Lennon and Groucho Marx, though less likely.

I met a girl who sang the blues… About Janis Joplin.

Helter skelter in a summer swelter… About Charles Manson.

And so on and so forth…

When “American Pie” was first released, it was so long it took up both sides of the single 45 rpm record. It was actually banned by several American radio stations because of its eight-and-a-half minute length. Many stations limited songs to a length of 3:30.

Don McLean has some other hits and around twenty mostly well-received albums after the incredibly heady success of “American Pie.” Songs like “Vincent,” “Castles in the Air,” “Dreidel,” “Wonderful Baby,” and a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.”

Don McLean remains a hard-working and active singer, composer, and musician. He has dabbled in everything from Bluegrass, to rock bands, to the Israeli Philharmonic. In 2007, his official memoirs were published. McLean and his most famous and timeless song remain a part of American pop culture. The recording industry of America recently voted “American Pie” number five on its list of all-time greatest songs:

1) “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland

2) “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

3) “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie

4) “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

5) “American Pie” by Don McLean

Don McLean has claimed that he never knew how commercial “American Pie” was, just that he had “written a masterpiece.”

Karise Eden – You Won’t Let Me

Another video from Karise Eden. I had posted a video of hers on July 8, and this song is from the same CD, “My Journey.” While the other song was a cover tune, this is an original written by Karise, and I think shows the likelihood of her having a long and great career.

Top Ten CDs for the First Half of 2012

Well the year is nearly half over, and I already have more than enough CDs to make a best of list for all of 2012. But, being the eternal optimist, and knowing that several artists whose work I really like have releases coming out in the second half of the year, I can’t quite wrap it up all nice and neat this early.

I can, however, make up a list of my top ten CDs of the first half of the year, and that’s exactly what I’m ready and willing to do. I’m sure some (all) of these will make my year-end list, but here they are in order at this day and time:

1. Patti Smith Banga
2. Hurray for the Riff Raff My Dearest Darkest Neighbor
3. Lindsay Fuller You, Anniversary
4. Leonard Cohen Old Times
5. Barna Howard Barna Howard
6. Sun Kil Moon Among the Leaves
7. Cold Specks I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
8. First Aid Kit The Lion’s Roar
9. Kelly Richie Finding My Way Back Home
10. Hurray for the Riff Raff Lookout Mama

Agree? Disagree? Do you have your own list, or just some favorites of the year so far? Let me know in the comments and I’ll share them with the rest of the readership of this blog.