The song, “American Pie”, was originally recorded by Don McLean in 1971
American folk singer Don McLean (b.1945) wrote his epic 8:31 long musical biography “American Pie” in 1971 and released it in October that year as his second ever single. It was the title track of his debut album and recalls musical history up to 1971, most notably the 1959 plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson and Ritchie Valens (“the day the music died”). “American Pie” topped the US chart upon release and has sold more than a million copies there. It also topped the charts in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and peaked at No.2 in the UK, receiving a Platinum certification for sales of more than 600,000 copies.
Many artists a wrestled with the song and many have parodied it but only one other has, to date, offered an alternative version in a more modern style. Madonna. She recorded “American Pie” for her 2000 film, ‘The Next Best Thing’, a released it as the lead single from the soundtrack in March that year. Co-produced with William ‘Ray Of Light’ orbit, the song topped the UK singles chart as well as in more than a dozen other territories, including once again Australia and Canada. Her version reached No.29 on the US Billboard singles chart, while her recording has sold more than a million copies worldwide, to date.
But whose version is the best? DON McLEAN’s original or MADONNA’s cover?