American Pie

Don McLean


Chorus Strum: D   D U D   D U

              1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Folk Strum:   D   D U   U D U

              1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

 

Chord Guide

      3    4

G:    3x0003

         132

D:    xx0232

        1

Em7:   020000

        231

Am:   x02210

       32 1

C:    x32010

       12

Em:   022000

         213

D7:   xx0212

        1 2

A7:   x02020

        2 1

Am7:  x02010

 

 

 

 

Verse 1 (hold each chord):

     (½)          (½)            

A [G]long [D] long [Em7] time ago [Am] I can still re[C]member

                                                          (2)                       (½)                 (½)

how that [Em]music used to make me [D]smile And [G]I knew [D]if I had

    

[Em7]my chance that [Am]I could make those [C]people dance and

                                                          (2)

[Em]maybe they'd be [C]happy for a [D]while.

 

[Em]But February [Am]made me shiver [Em]With every paper [Am]I'd

           (½)                      (½)                

deliver [C]Bad news [G]on the [Am]doorstep I c[C]ouldn't take one

                        (½)                 (½)

[D]more step I [G]can't re[D]member if I [Em]cried When I [Am7]read

                                                 (½)                         (½)                            (2)

about his [D]widowed bride. But [G]something [D]touched me [Em]deep

                                                  (2)

inside The [C]day the [D7]Music [G]Died

 

Chorus:

 (½)            (½)                      (½)                     (½)                              (½)

[G]bye [C]bye Miss A[G]merican [D]Pie Drove my [G]Chevy to the

 (½)                           (½)                       (½)                                 (½)                    (½)

[C]levy But the [G]levy was [D]dry.  And them [G]good old [C]boys were

             (½)                             (½)                          

drinking [G]whiskey and [D]rye.  Singin' [Em hold]this'll be the day that

                                                                                                       (2)

I [Am hold]die [Em hold]this'll be the day that I [D7 riff]die.

 

Verse 2 (w/ Folk Strum):

 

 

[G]Did you write the [Am]book of love And do [C]you have faith in

                                                      

[Am]God above?  [Em]If the Bible [D]tells you so. [D riff]  Do

 (½)                (½)                                          

[G]you be[D]lieve in [Em]Rock 'n Roll?   Can [Am7]music save your

                                                                                                (2)

[C]mortal soul? And [Em]can you teach me [A7]how to dance [D]real

slow?

 

 

Well, I [Em hold]know that you're in [D hold]love with him 'cause I [Em

                                                                         (½)                           (½)

hold]saw you dancin' [D hold]in the gym.  You [C]both kicked [G]off your

                           (½)                     (½)                    

[D] shoes Man, I [C]dig those [G] rhythm and [D7]blues.  I was a

  (½)              (½)                               

[G]lonely [D]teenage [Em]broncin' buck With a [Am]pink carnation and a

                                (½)               (½)                 

[C]pickup truck. But [G]I knew [D]I was [Em]out of luck The [C]day the

                  (½)           (½)    (½)                        (½)

[D7]music [G]died [C] [G] I started [D7]singin'

 

Chorus

 

Verse 3 (w/ Folk Strum):

 

[G]Now for ten years we've been [Am]on our own And [C]moss grows fat

                

on a [Am]rollin' stone [Em]  But that's not how it [D]used to be

                            (½)              (½)

[D riff] When the [G]jester [D]sang for the [Em]King and Queen.  In

 

a [Am7]coat he borrowed [C]from James Dean And a [Em]voice that

 

[A7]came from [D]you and me. [D riff]

 

 

Oh, and [Em hold]while the King was [D hold]looking down The [Em

                                                                           (½)                        (½)

hold]jester stole  his [D hold]thorny crown  The [C]courtroom [G] was

                                                                                     (½)

ad[D]journed No [C]verdict was re[D7]turned And while [G]Lennon

 (½)

[D]read a [Em]book of Marx The [Am]court kept practice [C]in the park. 

       (½)                    (½)

And [G]we sang [D]dirges [Em]in the dark The [C]day the [D7]Music

(½)               (½)    (½)                       (½)

[G]Died. [C] [G] We were [D7]singin'

 

Chorus

 

Verse 4 (w/ Folk Strum):

 

[G]Helter-Skelter in a [Am]summer swelter The [C]Byrds flew off with a

 

[Am]fallout shelter.  [Em]Eight Miles High and [D]falling fast

                (½)                 (½)

[D riff] It [G]landed [D]foul out [Em]on the grass. The

 

[Am7]players tried [C]for a forward pass But the [Em]jester's [A7]on

 

the sidelines [D]in a cast. [D riff]

 

 

Now the [Em hold]half-time air was [D hold]sweet perfume While the [Em

                                                                            (½)                       (½)

hold]sergeants played a [D hold]marching tune  [C]We all got [G]up to

                                                                                        (½)

[D]dance But we [C]never got [D7]the chance.  'cause the [G]players

(½)

[D]tried to [Em]take the field The [Am]marching band re[C]fused to

                      (½)        (½)

yield.  Do you [G] re[D]call what [Em]was reveiled the [C]day the

                 (½)               (½)    (½)                           (½)

[D7]Music [G]Died? [C] [G] We started [D7]singin'

 

Chorus

 

Verse 5 (w/ Folk Strum):

 

Oh, and [G]there we were all [Am]in one place A [C]generation

 

[Am]Lost in Space [Em]With no time left to [D]start again [D riff]

 

So come on, [G]Jack be nimble.  [Em]Jack be quick Jack [Am7]Flash sat

                                                                                       (2)

on a [C]candlestick 'cause [Em]fire is the [A7]Devil's only [D]friend

 

 

Oh, and [Em hold]as I watched him [D hold]on the stage My [Em

                                                                               (½)                    (½)

hold]hands were clenched in [D hold]fists of rage  [C]No angel [G]born in

                                                                                        (½)

[D]hell Could [C]break that Satan's [D7]spell  And as the [G]flames

              (½)

climbed [D]high in[Em]to the night To [Am]light the sacri[C]fical rite. I

        (½)                 (½)

saw [G]Satan  [D]laughing [Em]with delight The [C]day the [D7]Music

(½)              (½)   (½)                      (½)

[G]Died [C] [G] He was [D7]singin'

 

Chorus

 

Verse 6 (hold each chord):

  (½)                 (½)

I [G]met a [D]girl who sang the [Em]blues And I [Am]asked her for some

                                                                                  (2)                 (½)

[C]happy news.  But [Em]she just smiled and turned [D]away I [G]went

          (½)                                    

down [D]to the sacred [Em7]store.  Where I'd [Am]heard the music

 

[C]years before But the [Em]man there said the [A7]music wouldn't

(2)

[D]play.

 

 

And in the [Em]streets the children [Am]screamed The [Em]lovers cried,

                                                     (½)              (½)  

and the poets [Am]dreamed.  But [C]not a [G]word was [Am]spoken The

                                                                 (½)                       (½)

[C]Church bells all were [D7]broken And [G]three men [D]I

 

ad[Em]mire most The [Am7]Father, Son and the [G]Holy Ghost.  They

(½)                          (½)

[G]caught the [D]last train [Em]for the coast The [C]Day the [D7]Music

 

[G]Died.  And they were singing

 

Chorus

 

(continue Chorus Strum)

They were singing

(½)            (½)                      (½)                     (½)                              (½)

[G]bye [C]bye Miss A[G]merican [D]Pie Drove my [G]Chevy to the

 (½)                           (½)                       (½)                                 (½)                    (½)

[C]levy But the [G]levy was [D]dry.  And them [G]good old [C]boys were

              (½)                           (½)                           (½)                             (½)

drinking [G]whiskey and [D]rye.  Singin' [G]this'll be the [D]day

           (½)                     (½)

that I [G hold]die [C hold] [G hold]



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This file is the author's own work and represents his interpretation of this song. It's intended solely for private study, scholarship or research.

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4 Comments for McLean, Don – American Pie

  1. don gunderson says:
  2. thershberg says:

    Can you do a video of this. That would be very helpful. (This being “American Pie”)

  3. Jay says:

    Hey, I was just wondering what the D/D7 riffs are. Because they seem to change during the song. Cheers 

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