Last updated: 09:26 / Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Christie’s New York

Don McLean’s Original Manuscript for "American Pie" to be sold, Tuesday

Don McLean’s Original Manuscript for "American Pie" to be sold, Tuesday

Tuesday at 10.00 am, Christie’s New York will auction the original manuscript and notes to Don McLean's "American Pie" -sold by the singer-songwriter-, arguably the most iconic and recognizable American song of the Twentieth Century released in 1971.

This masterpiece of American arts and letters is estimated at $1 to $1.5 million. The investor will get the 16 pages of original working manuscript and typed drafts for the song, containing 237 lines of manuscript and 26 lines of typed text.

Since debuting on the airwaves in 1971, Don McLean’s “American Pie” has stood as one of the most important icons of twentieth-century American music. The singer-songwriter’s masterpiece became the anthem of McLean’s own “generation lost in space,” and continues to resonate in the present day. The author has remained decidedly enigmatic about the meaning and messages hidden in his masterpiece; like any great work of art, he says, the song remains open to interpretation, informed by the histories and experiences of all those who encounter it.

McLean’s song describes the turbulent upheavals of the latter half of the twentieth century and it is  an emblem that stands alongside the work of post-war figures such as Andy Warhol, J.D. Salinger, and Bob Dylan in its importance to the American cultural canon. The song was composed in Pennsylvania and Cold Spring, New York, recorded in May 1971 and released in October.

“I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song American Pie so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game. It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music,” he says. “I would say to young songwriters who are starting out to immerse yourself in beautiful music and beautiful lyrics and think about every word you say in a song,” added Don McLean.

Rock memorabilia collecting is popular among wealthy baby boomers, which are looking for alternative ways to invest, publishes bloomberg. The most sought-after manuscripts are from the Beatles and Bob Dylan, said Leila Dunbar, a former Sotheby’s executive who is a memorabilia appraiser and consultant in New York. Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for more than $2 million in 2012, and the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”sold for $1.2 million in 2010. Both were sold at Sotheby’s.

The buyer is likely to end up being a private collector because museums cannot usually afford such an expensive memorabilia, and most items in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are donated, said Warwick Stone, a curator for the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas’s memorabilia collection. Chinese buyers have shown an interest in American pop culture memorabilia, particularly items from Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe, he said.