The day the music died and then sold for a load of cash (what it means, maybe)

Interviews with Don McLean famously used to go like this.

Interviewer: What does your song "American Pie" mean?
Don McLean: It means I don't have to ever work again if I don't want.

There are all kinds of crazy interpretations about what the lyrics mean. There are probably some reasonable interpretations, too. I've never heard one, though I've probably tried to give a couple.

The original lyrics recently sold at auction for $1.2 million.

But the bonus: McLean, in that article, talks a little about the song and what it means.

I didn't live through the time McLean memorialized, but the song definitely shaped my vision of the pre-Internet U.S.

The day the music died

I know a poet named Rob. He's likely in his 40s, wears Chuck Taylors, baggie pants and a wallet chain. He reads from tiny composition notebooks full of tiny print, cover to cover, about drugs, prostitutes and homelessness.

I don't know if he's as tall as his words. It doesn't matter to me.

One night he read about accidentally – and drunkenly – urinating on the man next to him in the men's room of a tavern. When he looked up, he discovered the man was Don McLean.

Don McLean, you may know, if you've spent more than 10 minutes in your life with someone who owns an acoustic guitar, has written two songs in his life: "American Pie" and the other 20-odd albums full of music he's penned.

"American Pie" is a mourning of the plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, that killed Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. There was so much young musical talent that ceased to be that day, it's been called The Day The Music Died.

You'll have the opportunity to read dozens, if not hundreds of tributes today. I won't bore you with a retrospective, since I wasn't there for the plane crash, the '60s, or the appearance of "American Pie," which I remember hearing on vinyl for the first time (in fact, it was a 45-rpm, and the song was split onto both sides). Instead, here's Mr. Mclean: