By Jim Johnson

Don McLean‘s original handwritten lyrics to “American Pie” sold this morning for $1.2 million, according to the BBC. That’s actually a bit below pre-sale estimates.

The item, sold by Christie’s auction house in New York, also includes notes which finally reveal the story behind the ’70s classic. Always reluctant to focus on the back-story in interviews, McLean describes it as “a morality song that charts the decline of the USA and its loss of innocence.”

In a catalog description, McLean writes, “Basically in ‘American Pie’ things are heading in the wrong direction… It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.”

McLean doesn’t believe the world has moved in the right direction since then. “I was around in 1970 and now I am around in 2015… there is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie’.”

The notes also include a final — and typically cryptic — pair of verses not included in McLean’s recording:

“And there I stood alone and afraid
I knelt to my knees and there I prayed
And I promised to give all I have to give
If only he would make it live again.”

“He promised it would live once more
Won’t this time one would equal for
And in five years, the four were over
And the music lived again.”

(London Telegraph)

 

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