Don McLean’s Handwritten Lyrics to ‘American Pie’ Sell for $1.2 Million

The full manuscript is 16 pages of handwritten notes

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The National Endowment for the Arts named the piece a ‘Song of the Century.’

The original, handwritten lyrics to Don McLean’s classic rock song, “American Pie,” sold for $1.2 million at an auction at Christie’s on Tuesday, April 7.

The full manuscript features 16 pages of handwritten notes, which had, until recently, been stored in a box in McLean’s home for nearly 50 years.

“Don McLean’s manuscript of ‘American Pie’ achieved the third highest auction price for an American literary manuscript, a fitting tribute to one the foremost singer-songwriters of his generation,” said Tom Lecky, Christie’s head of the department of books and manuscripts.

“This result is a testament to the creative genius of Don McLean and to the song’s ability to still engage and inspire.”

McLean, who turns 70 this year, is responsible for one of the most closely read, carefully dissected songs in American history. There are entire websites dedicated to decoding the piece, but McLean prefers a simpler message. His favorite response is “It means I never have to work again,” the singer told the BBC


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