Chart Peak: 12 [2 in 1972]
Somebody suddenly seems to have walked in and said that the album was getting far too silly. For the final track is rather self-consciously serious, and as if to underline the point it's the long 8-minutes-plus version; presumably that's why there's one less track on Disc 2 than Disc 1. This full-length version also appeared on the CD and cassette versions of the re-released single, presumably because they could. At the time it felt like something of a treat to hear such a long song getting played on the radio but nowadays I have to admit to finding it a bit of a chore.
At the time, too, I might have been keener to agree with the sentiment of the song and its exposition of how pop music was useless after the 1960s. Indeed, I remember having an earnest discussion on the uselessness of post-1970 music with my mum in Burger King, which quickly descended into "What Have The Romans Done For Us" territory when she reminded me about the existence of soul music, indie etc. Even though I appreciate the tragedy of Buddy Holly's death all the more now, I find it harder to be impressed by McLean's wordplay or his thesis, though at least this is a well-made record, with a warm, intimate sound to it, and less sickly than his other big hit of the time, 'Vincent'.
Available on: American Pie
Here ends Now 20. All that remains is to embed the playlist for those who wish to draw their own conclusions. There are some good moments but they seem a bit to few and far between for an album with half a year to draw on.
Charting 1997: 27th December
4 years ago