A manuscript for American Pie, the fifth greatest song of the 20th Century, was sold for $1.2 million at auction overnight in New York City.
Don McLean’s eight-and-a-half-minute song, which begins with the 1959 death of Buddy Holly and tries to describe a nation heading into artistic turmoil, found its inspiration in a pharmacy, ABC reports.
“Basically, in American Pie things are heading in the wrong direction. It is becoming less ideal, less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right, but it is a morality song in a sense,” 69-year-old McLean said during an interview at Christie’s auction house.
“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’.”
Mclean rushed home from shopping at a Cold Spring, New York pharmacy after the chorus came to him, he then began writing the 18 page manuscript in ink and pencil across 1970-71.
The release of the manuscript was intended to put to bed confusion over the meaning of the popular song, McLean said.
The Guardian reported that some of the enigmatic elements of the song have been cleared up. The King in the song is Elvis Presley, the Jester on the sidelines is Bob Dylan, and Helter Skelter refers to the Charles Manson murders, according to the Christie’s catalogue.
The buyer’s identity was not revealed.
Tom Lecky from Christies said the American Pie manuscript sale took the third highest auction price for an American literary manuscript, the Guardian reported.