But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step

from Don McLean – American Pie Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Buddy Holly

Ritchie Valens

The Big Bopper

On February 3rd, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper died tragically in a plane crash. These were three of the biggest names in rock and roll at the time. They were so big that in the year before the crash, the three of them combined had sold 10 million records.

At the time, Don McLean was a paperboy who saw the headline news when he delivered papers the next morning. Because McLean was an aspiring singer, the event left him speechless, and was transformed into his metaphor “The Day the Music Died”: as in, three of music’s biggest stars were gone, therefore, so was it.

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