Stateside, of course, he is best known for ‘American Pie,’ a song that is not so much a hit as an iconic part of the culture. Chronicling the deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper in a plane crash, the song is packed with coded imagery that serves as a tour of the 60s’ musical landscape.
Those two songs anchor American Pie, the album, McLean’s second release and the last one that made any real impact commercially or critically.
But the whole album is a worthy document of 70s singer-songwriter folk-pop. Songs such as ‘Til Tomorrow,’ ‘Crossroads’ and today’s SOTD are delicately beautiful acoustic gems. Another track, ‘Empty Chairs,’ is said to have been the inspiration for Roberta Flack’s ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song.’
Not a bad legacy for a one-hit wonder.
And time has proven that I’m right.
There’s no place I’d rather be,
Than at your place for the night.
No time can pass your sight unseen.
No moment steals away unfound.
Lifetime lived in such a dream,
Floats like a feather to the ground.
And for the first time I’ve been seeing
The things I’d never notice, without you.
And for the first time I’m discovering
The things I used to treasure, about you.
The birds like leaves on Winterwood,
Sing hopeful songs on dismal days.
They’ve learned to live life as they should.
They are at peace with natures ways.
You are as natural as the night,
And all that springs from you is good.
And the children born beneath your light,
Are like the birds on Winterwood.