Fun_People Archive
4 Mar
The Annotated American Pie

Date: Fri,  4 Mar 94 12:50:47 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: The Annotated American Pie

[I'm afraid this waxes a bit sophomoric, but you may find it interesting
 nonetheless... -psl]

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic
Forwarded-by: JR Oldroyd <>
From: (Rich Kulawiec)


This particularly enigmatic song has been discussed at least once a
year since Usenet had a newsgroup for discussing music. These
discussions frequently repeat themselves, but occasionally introduce
new information and new interpretations. Having tired of watching the
same process repeat itself for ten years, I've created this, the
annotated "American Pie".

This posting consists of: the lyrics to the song (left-justified) with
comments (indented); the chords, for those who'd like to tackle it;
some miscellaneous notes; and references. Comments are most welcome;
comments backed up with references are *very* welcome. I have attempted
to note where the interpretation is questionable.

The roots of this posting are in the "Great American Pie" Usenet
discussion of 1983; much of it comes from wombat's (the original
wombat, not me) posting in on June 16, 1985. As Robert
Williams has pointed out to me, the entire song can be viewed as one
big projective test, so interpretations vary quite a bit. I've tried
to be inclusive while also indicating which ones I buy into and which
I don't; your mileage may vary.

---Rsk 4/3/93


The entire song is a tribute to Buddy Holly and a commentary on how
rock and roll changed in the years since his death. McLean seems to be
lamenting the lack of "danceable" music in rock and roll and (in part)
attributing that lack to the absence of Buddy Holly et. al.

(Verse 1) A long, long time ago... 

   "American Pie" reached #1 in the US in 1972, but the album
   containing it was released in 1971. Buddy Holly died in 1959.

I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance,
That I could make those people dance,
And maybe they'd be happy for a while.

   One of early rock and roll's functions was to provide dance music
   for various social events. McLean recalls his desire to become a
   musician playing that sort of music.

But February made me shiver,

   Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959 in a plane crash in Iowa
   during a snowstorm.

With every paper I'd deliver,

   Don McLean's only job besides being a full-time singer-songwriter
   was being a paperboy.

Bad news on the doorstep...
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride

   Holly's recent bride was pregnant when the crash took place; she
   had a miscarriage shortly afterward.

But something touched me deep inside,
The day the music died.

   The same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly also took the lives of
   Richie Valens ("La Bamba") and The Big Bopper ("Chantilly
   Lace"). Since all three were so prominent at the time, February 3,
   1959 became known as "The Day The Music Died".



Bye bye Miss American Pie,

   Don McLean dated a Miss America candidate during the
   pageant. (unconfirmed)

Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singing "This'll be the day that I die,
This'll be the day that I die."

   One of Holly's hits was "That'll be the Day"; the chorus contains
   the line "That'll be the day that I die".

(Verse 2)
Did you write the book of love,

   "The Book of Love" by the Monotones; hit in 1958. 

And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?

   In 1955, Don Cornell did a song entitled "The Bible Tells Me
   So". Rick Schubert pointed this out, and mentioned that he hadn't
   heard the song, so it was kinda difficult to tell if it was what
   McLean was referencing. Anyone know for sure?  There's also an old
   Sunday School song which goes: "Jesus loves me this I know, for the
   Bible tells me so"

Now do you believe in rock 'n roll?

   The Lovin' Spoonful had a hit in 1965 with John Sebastian's "Do you
   Believe in Magic?". The song has the lines: "Do you believe in
   magic" and "It's like trying to tell a stranger 'bout rock and

Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

   Dancing slow was an important part of early rock and roll dance
   events -- but declined in importance through the 60's as things
   like psychedelia and the 10-minute guitar solo gained prominence.

Well I know you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancing in the gym

   Back then, dancing was an expression of love, and carried a
   connotation of committment. Dance partners were not so readily
   exchanged as they would be later.

You both kicked off your shoes

   A reference to the beloved "sock hop". (Street shoes tear up wooden
   basketball floors, so dancers had to take off their shoes.)

Man, I dig those rhythm 'n' blues

   Some history. Before the popularity of rock and roll, music, like
   much else in the U. S., was highly segregated. The popular music of
   black performers for largely black audiences was called, first,
   "race music", later softened to rhythm and blues. In the early 50s,
   as they were exposed to it through radio personalities such as
   Allan Freed, white teenagers began listening, too.  Starting around
   1954, a number of songs from the rhythm and blues charts began
   appearing on the overall popular charts as well, but usually in
   cover versions by established white artists, (e. g. "Shake Rattle
   and Roll", Joe Turner, covered by Bill Haley; "Sh-Boom", the
   Chords, covered by the Crew-Cuts; "Sincerely", the Moonglows,
   covered by the Mc Guire Sisters; Tweedle Dee, LaVerne Baker,
   covered by Georgia Gibbs). By 1955, some of the rhythm and blues
   artists, like Fats Domino and Little Richard were able to get
   records on the overall pop charts. In 1956 Sun records added
   elements of country and western to produce the kind of rock and
   roll tradition that produced Buddy Holly. (Thanks to Barry
   Schlesinger for this historical note. ---Rsk)

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck

   "A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation)", was a hit for Marty
   Robbins in 1957. The pickup truck has endured as a symbol of sexual
   independence and potency, especially in a Texas context. (Also,
   Jimmy Buffet does a song about "a white sport coat and a pink
   crustacean". :-) )

But I knew that I was out of luck
The day the music died
I started singing...


(Verse 3)
Now for ten years we've been on our own

   McLean was writing this song in the late 60's, about ten years
   after the crash.

And moss grows fat on a rolling stone

   It's unclear who the "rolling stone" is supposed to be. It could be
   Dylan, since "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965) was his first major hit;
   and since he was busy writing songs extolling the virtues of simple
   love, family and contentment while staying at home (he didn't tour
   from '66 to '74) and raking in the royalties. This was quite a
   change from the earlier, angrier Dylan.  The "rolling stone" could
   also be Elvis, although I don't think he'd started to pork out by
   the late sixties. It could refer to rock and rollers in general,
   and the changes that had taken place in the business in the 60's,
   especially the huge amounts of cash some of them were beginning to
   make, and the relative stagnation that entered the music at the
   same time. Or, perhaps it's a reference to the stagnation in rock
   and roll. Or, finally, it could refer to the Rolling Stones
   themselves; a lot of musicians were angry at the Stones for
   "selling out". Howard Landman points out that John Foxx of Ultravox
   was sufficiently miffed to write a song titled "Life At Rainbow's
   End (For All The Tax Exiles On Main Street)". The Stones at one
   point became citizens of some other country merely to save taxes.

But that's not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the King and Queen    

   The jester is Bob Dylan, as will become clear later. There are
   several interpretations of king and queen: some think that Elvis
   Presley is the king, which seems pretty obvious. The queen is said
   to be either Connie Francis or Little Richard. But see the next
   note. An alternate interpretation is that this refers to the
   Kennedys -- the king and queen of "Camelot" -- who were present at
   a Washington DC civil rights rally featuring Martin Luther
   King. (There's a recording of Dylan performing at this rally.)

In a coat he borrowed from James Dean

   In the movie "Rebel Without a Cause", James Dean has a red
   windbreaker that holds symbolic meaning throughout the film (see
   note at end). In one particularly intense scene, Dean lends his
   coat to a guy who is shot and killed; Dean's father arrives, sees
   the coat on the dead man, thinks it's Dean, and loses it. On the
   cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan", Dylan is wearing just such
   as red windbreaker, and is posed in a street scene similar to one
   shown in a well-known picture of James Dean. Bob Dylan played a
   command performance for the Queen of England. He was *not* properly
   attired, so perhaps this is a reference to his apparel.

And a voice that came from you and me

   Bob Dylan's roots are in American folk music, with people like Pete
   Seeger and Woody Guthrie. Folk music is by definition the music of
   the masses, hence the "...came from you and me".

Oh, and while the King was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown

   This could be a reference to Elvis's decline and Dylan's
   ascendance. (i.e. Presley is looking down from a height as Dylan
   takes his place.) The thorny crown might be a reference to the
   price of fame. Dylan has said that he wanted to be as famous as
   Elvis, one of his early idols.

The courtroom was adjourned,
No verdict was returned.

   This could be the trial of the Chicago Seven. 

And while Lennon read a book on Marx,

   Literally, John Lennon reading about Karl Marx; figuratively, the
   introduction of radical politics into the music of the Beatles. (Of
   course, he could be referring to Groucho Marx, but that doesn't
   seem quite consistent with McLean's overall tone. On the other
   hand, some of the wordplay in Lennon's lyrics and books is
   reminiscint of Groucho.) The "Marx-Lennon" wordplay has also been
   used by others, most notably the Firesign Theatre on the cover of
   their album "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not
   Anywhere At All?" . Also, a famous French witticism was "Je suis
   Marxiste, tendance Groucho."; "I'm a Marxist of the Groucho

The quartet practiced in the park

   There are two schools of thought about this; the obvious one is the
   Beatles playing in Shea Stadium, but note that the previous line
   has John Lennon *doing something else at the same time*. This tends
   to support the theory that this is a reference to the Weavers, who
   were blacklisted during the McCarthy era. McLean had become friends
   with Lee Hays of the Weavers in the early 60's while performing in
   coffeehouses and clubs in upstate New York and New York City. He
   was also well-acquainted with Pete Seeger; in fact, McLean, Seeger,
   and others took a trip on the Hudson river singing anti-pollution
   songs at one point. Seeger's LP "God Bless the Grass" contains many
   of these songs.

And we sang dirges in the dark

   A "dirge" is a funeral or mourning song, so perhaps this is meant
   literally...or, perhaps, this is a reference to some of the new
   "art rock" groups which played long pieces not meant for dancing.

The day the music died.
We were singing...


(Verse 4)
Helter Skelter in a summer swelter

   "Helter Skelter" is a Beatles song which appears on the "white"
   album. Charles Manson, claiming to have been "inspired" by the song
   (through which he thought God and/or the devil were taking to him)
   led his followers in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Is "summer swelter"
   a reference to the "Summer of Love" or perhaps to the "long hot
   summer" of Watts?

The birds flew off with the fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast

   The Byrd's "Eight Miles High" was on their late 1966 release "Fifth
   Dimension". It was one of the first records to be widely banned
   because of supposedly drug-oriented lyrics.

It landed foul on the grass

   One of the Byrds was busted for possesion of marijuana. 

The players tried for a forward pass

   Obviously a football metaphor, but about what? It could be the
   Rolling Stones, i.e. they were waiting for an opening which really
   didn't happen until the Beatles broke up.

With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

   On July 29, 1966, Dylan crashed his Triumph 55 motorcycle while
   riding near his home in Woodstock, New York. He spent nine months
   in seclusion while recuperating from the accident.

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume

   Drugs, man. Well, now, wait a minute; that's probably too
   obvious. It's possible that this line and the next few refer to the
   1968 Democratic National Convention. The "sweet perfume" is
   probably tear gas.

While sergeants played a marching tune

   Following from the thought above, the sergeants would be the
   Chicago Police and the Illinois National Guard, who marched the
   protestors out of the park and into jail. Alternatively, this could
   refer to the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Or,
   perhaps McLean refers to the Beatles' music in general as
   "marching" because it's not music for dancing. Or, finally, the
   "marching tune" could be the draft.

We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

   The Beatles' 1966 Candlestick Park concert only lasted 35
   minutes. Or, following on from the previous comment, perhaps he
   meant that there wasn't any music to dance to.

'Cause the players tried to take the field,
The marching band refused to yield.

   Following on from the Chicago reference above, this could be
   another comment on protests. If the players are the protestors at
   Kent State, and the marching band the Ohio National Guard... This
   could be a reference to the dominance of the Beatles on the rock
   and roll scene. For instance, the Beach Boys released "Pet Sounds"
   in 1966 -- an album which featured some of the same sort of studio
   and electronic experimentation as "Sgt. Pepper" (1967) -- but the
   album sold poorly. Some folks think this refers to either the 1968
   Deomcratic Convention or Kent State. This might also be a comment
   about how the dominance of the Beatles in the rock world led to
   more "pop art" music, leading in turn to a dearth of traditional
   rock and roll. Or finally, this might be a comment which follows up
   on the earlier reference to the draft: the
   government/military-industrial-complex establishment refused to
   accede to the demands of the peace movement.

Do you recall what was revealed,
The day the music died?
We started singing


(Verse 5)
And there we were all in one place


A generation lost in space

   Some people think this is a reference to the US space program,
   which it might be; but that seems a bit too literal. Perhaps this
   is a reference to hippies, who were sometimes known as the "lost
   generation", partially because of their particularly acute
   alientation from their parents, and partially because of their
   presumed preoccupation with drugs. It could also be a reference to
   the awful TV show, "Lost in Space", whose title was sometimes used
   as a synonym for someone who was rather high... but I keep hoping
   that McLean had better taste. :-)

With no time left to start again

   The "lost generation" spent too much time being stoned, and had
   wasted their lives? Or, perhaps, their preference for psychedelia
   had pushed rock and roll so far from Holly's music that it couldn't
   be retrieved.

So come on Jack be nimble Jack be quick

   Probably a reference to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones; "Jumpin'
   Jack Flash" was released in May, 1968.

Jack Flash sat on a candlestick

   The Stones' Candlestick park concert? (unconfirmed) 

'Cause fire is the devil's only friend

   It's possible that this is a reference to the Grateful Dead's
   "Friend of the Devil". An alternative interpretation of the last
   four lines is that they may refer to Jack Kennedy and his quick
   decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis; the candlesticks/fire
   refer to ICBMs and nuclear war.

And as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan's spell

   While playing a concert at the Altamont Speedway in 1968, the
   Stones appointed members of the Hell's Angels to work security (on
   the advice of the Grateful Dead). In the darkness near the front of
   the stage, a young man named Meredith Hunter was beaten and stabbed
   to death -- by the Angels. Public outcry that the song "Sympathy
   for the Devil" had somehow incited the violence caused the Stones
   to drop the song from their show for the next six years. This
   incident is chronicled in the documentary film "Gimme
   Shelter". It's also possible that McLean views the Stones as being
   negatively inspired (remember, he had an extensive religious
   background) by virtue of "Sympathy for the Devil", "Their Satanic
   Majesties' Request" and so on. I find this a bit puzzling, since
   the early Stones recorded a lot of "roots" rock and roll, including
   Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away".

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite

   The most likely interpretation is that McLean is still talking
   about Altamont, and in particular Mick Jagger's prancing and posing
   while it was happening. The sacrifice is Meredith Hunter, and the
   bonfires around the area provide the flames. (It could be a
   reference to Jimi Hendrix burning his Stratocaster at the Monterey
   Pop Festival, but that was in 1967 and this verse is set in 1968.)

I saw satan laughing with delight

   If the above is correct, then Satan would be Jagger. 

The day the music died
He was singing...


(Verse 6)
I met a girl who sang the blues

   Janis Joplin. 

And I asked her for some happy news 
But she just smiled and turned away

   Janis died of an accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970. 

I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard the music years before

   There are two interpretations of this: The "sacred store" was Bill
   Graham's Fillmore West, one of the great rock and roll venues of
   all time. Alternatively, this refers to record stores, and their
   longtime (then discontinued) practice of allowing customers to
   preview records in the store. (What year did the Fillmore West
   close?) It could also refer to record stores as "sacred" because
   this is where one goes to get "saved". (See above lyric "Can music
   save your mortal soul?")

But the man there said the music wouldn't play

   Perhaps he means that nobody is interested in hearing Buddy Holly's music? Or, as above, the discontinuation of the in-store
   listening booths.

And in the streets the children screamed

   "Flower children" being beaten by police and National Guard troops;
   in particular, perhaps, the People's Park riots in Berkeley in 1969
   and 1970.

The lovers cried and the poets dreamed

   The trend towards psychedelic music in the 60's? 

But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

   It could be that the broken bells are the dead musicians: neither
   can produce any more music.

And the three men I admire most
The Father Son and Holy Ghost

   Holly, The Big Bopper, and Valens -- or -- Hank Williams, Presley
   and Holly -- or -- JFK, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy -- or
   -- or the Catholic aspects of the deity. McLean had attended
   several Catholic schools.

They caught the last train for the coast

   Could be a reference to wacky California religions, or could just
   be a way of saying that they've left (or died -- western culture
   often uses "went west" as a synonym for dying). Or, perhaps this is
   a reference to the famous "God is Dead" headline in the New York
   Times. David Cromwell has suggested that this is an oblique
   reference to a line in Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale", but
   I'm not sure I buy that; for one thing, all of McLean's musical
   references are to much older "roots" rock and roll songs; and
   secondly, I think it's more likely that this line shows up in both
   songs simply because it's a common cultural metaphor.

The day the music died

   This tends to support the conjecture that the "three men" were
   Holly/Bopper/Valens, since this says that they left on the day the
   music died.

And they were singing...

Refrain (2x)

Chords to the song:

The song appears to be in G; the chords are:

 Intro:  G     Bm/F# Em    .     Am    .     C     .
         Em    .     D     .     .     .
         G     Bm/F# Em    .     Am    .     C     .
         Em    .     A     .     D     .     .     .
         Em    .     Am    .     Em    .     Am    .
         C     G/B   Am    .     C     .     D     .
         G     Bm/F# Em    .     Am    .     C     .
         G     Bm/F# Em    .     Am    .     D     .
         G     .     C     .     G     .     D     .

 Chorus: G     .     C     .     G     .     D     .
         G     .     C     .     G     .     D     .
         G     .     C     .     G     .     D     .

         Em    .     .     .     A     .     .     .   (all but
         Em    .     .     .     D     .     .     .    last chorus)

         C     .     D     .     G     C     G     .   (last chorus)

Other notes: 

"Killing Me Softly With His Song", Roberta Flack's Grammy
Award-winning single of 1973, was written by Charles Gimble and Norman
Fox about McLean.

The Big Bopper's real name was J.P. Richardson. He was a DJ for a
Texas radio station who had one very big novelty hit, the very well
known "Chantilly Lace". There was a fourth person who was going to
ride the plane. There was room for three, ahd the fourth person lost
the toss -- or should I say won the toss. His name is Waylon
Jennings...and to this day he refuses to talk about the crash.
(Jennings was the bass player for Holly's band at the time. Some
people say that Holly had chartered the plane for his band, but that
Valens and/or Richardson was sick that night and asked to take the
place of the band members.)

About the "coat he borrowed from James Dean": James Dean's red
windbreaker is important throughout the film, not just at the end.
When he put it on, it meant that it was time to face the world, time
to do what he thought had to be done, and other melodramatic but
thoroughly enjoyable stuff like that. The week after the movie came
out, virtually every clothing store in the U.S. was sold out of red
windbreakers. Remember that Dean's impact was similar to Dylan's: both
were a symbol for the youth of their time, a reminder that they had
something to say and demanded to be listened to.

American Pie is supposed to be the name of the plane that crashed,
containing the three guys that died. (Reported by Ronald van Loon from
the discussion on American Pie, autumn 1991, on

Dan Stanley mentioned an interesting theory involving all of this;
roughly put, he figures that if Holly hadn't died, then we would not
have suffered through the Fabian/Pat Boone/ era...and as a
consequence, we wouldn't have *needed* the Beatles -- Holly was moving
pop music away from the stereotypical boy/girl love lost/found lyrical
ideas, and was recording with unique instrumentation and
techniques...things that Beatles wouldn't try until about
1965. Perhaps Dylan would have stuck with the rock and roll he played
in high school, and the Byrds never would have created an amalgam of
Dylan songs and Beatle arrangements.

Lynn Gold tells me that "Life" magazine carried an annotated version
of American Pie when the song came out; does anybody have a copy?

Still other :-) notes: 

Andrew Whitman brings a sense of perspective to all of this by noting: 

>As to what they threw off the bridge, Bobbie Gentry once went on
>record with the statement that it was the mystery that made the song,
>and that the mystery would remain unsolved.  Don McLean later used
>the same device to even greater success with "American Pie," which
>triggered a national obsession on figuring out the "real meaning" of
>the song.

Well, probably not a national obsession, but certainly the life's work
of many talented scholars. According to the latest edition of the
"American Pie Historical Interpretive Digest" (APHID), noted McLean
historian Vincent Vandeman has postulated that cheezy country songs
may have played a much more prominent role in the epic composition
than had originally been thought. In particular, the "widowed bride,"
usually supposed to be either Ella Holly or Joan Rivers, may in fact
be Billie Jo. According to this radical exegesis, the "pink carnation"
of McLean's song is probably what was thrown off the Tallahatchie
Bridge, and was later found by the lonely, teenaged McLean as he
wandered drunkenly on the levee.

Of course, such a view poses problems. McLean vehemently denies any
knowledge of Choctaw Ridge, and any theory linking the two songs must
surely address this mysterious meeting place of Billie Jo and her
husband Billy Joe. Vandeman speculates that Choctaw Ridge may have
been the place McLean drove his Chevy after drinking whiskey and rye,
and that McLean may have been unaware of the name because of his foggy
mental state. Still, there appear to be many tenuous connections in
Vandeman's interpretation - Tammy Wynette as the girl who sang the
blues, the proposed affair between Wynette and Billie Joe which later
led to d-i-v-o-r-c-e and Billy Joe's suicide, the mysterious
whereabouts of George Jones, and why McLean insisted on driving a
Chevy to the levee instead of a more economical Japanese car.

My own view is that none of it makes much sense. Vandeman's theory is
intriguing, but it seems far more logical to hold to the traditional
interpretation of "American Pie" as an eschatological parable of
nuclear destruction and the rebirth of civilization on Alpha Centauri.

[ Thanks, Andrew. I'll take it under advisement. ;-) ---Rsk ] 


   - Billboard Book of Number One Hits, by Fred Bronson, Billboard, 1985. 
   - Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul, revised edition, by Irwin
     Stambler, St. Martin's Press, 1989.
   - Rock Chronicle, by Dan Formento, Delilah/Putnam, 1982.
   - Rock Day by Day, by Steve Smith and the Diagram Group, Guiness
     Books, 1987.
   - Rock Topicon, by Dave Marsh, Sandra Choron and Debbie Geller,
     Contemporary Books, 1984.
   - Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, ed. by Jon Pareles and
     Patricia Romanowski, Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books, 1983. 
   - Rolling Stone Record Guide, ed. by Dave Marsh with John Swenson,
     Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979.
   - The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage, by Todd Gitlin, Bantam
     Book, 1987.
   - Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire's History of the Sixties,
     ed. by Harold Hayes, Esquire Press, 1987.
   - It was Twenty Years ago Today: An Anniversary Celebration of
     1967, by Derek Taylor, Fireside, 1987.
   - Don Wegeng mentioned that some of his comments came from an
     interpretation broadcast by radio station WIFE (AM) in
     Indianapolis, which was the most popular station in Indy when
     American Pie was a hit.  

Credits, in rough chronological order: 

        fortune!grw (Ihor W. Slabicky) (Stephen Hull) (Dan O'Neill) (Sharon McBroom) (Martin Terman) (Rich Kulawiec) (Tim Kennedy) (Rick Schubert) (Paul Maclauchlan) (Ronald van Loon) (Colleen Wirth) (Taed Nelson) (Barry Schlesinger) (Tom Sullivan) (Howard Edwards) (Gerry Myerson) (Dave Hayes)
        rlwilliams@gallua.bitnet (Robert L. Williams) (Elizabeth Gilliam) (Chris Sullivan) (David T. Pilkey)
        Dan Stanley at Fitchburg State College (courtesy of
                Timothy J. Stanley, (Lynn Gold) (Andrew J. Whitman) (Howard Landman) (Don Wegeng) (Al Stavely)
        David (D.C.) Cromwell 

Revision history: 

        1/20/92 Constructed from various old postings
        1/27/92 Added comments from Usenetters on first draft
        2/3/92  More comments folded in; reposted today, the
                anniversary of The Day the Music Died
        8/18/92 Added comments generated by the Februrary posting.
        1/3/93  Caught up on lots of updates that have been languishing
                in my inbound mail queue for months.
        4/2/93  Rearranged much of the text, incorporated more feedback
                from readers, and move the credits and history to the end.

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []