DAVE: American Lullaby
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile…
Not having much of a singing voice never stopped me from singing to my kids at bedtime. As parents, we all make sacrifices and reciting the Barney theme song at bedtime ranked high as one of mine. Something had to change. One dark quiet night as I tried to induce sleepytime upon my wide-eyed little person, I reached back for anything I could remember… something other than “I love you, you love me.” In that moment, I found the quintessential song of my early 70s youth. I dusted off the classic “American Pie” by Don McLean. And I began to sing.
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
Sure the song is eight minutes long and filled with pop culture references, metaphors and a haunting chorus that involves drunkenness and death, but hey, it worked—knocked my little one right out. Pleasant dreams. That was just the beginning—the song quickly rose to the top of the bedtime charts for all my kids. Stayed there for years. Then a generation later, I began singing it to my granddaughter, Aubrey.
Aubrey is 11 now. It has been a few years since I’ve tucked her in. But the other night the song shuffled up in my car as we all headed out to dinner. I didn’t think much of it until I heard a soft voice from the back seat tentatively singing along. Aubrey knew all the words. It was one of those priceless eight-minute moments.
After the song ended, Sandy said she heard it was written about the death of Buddy Holly but wasn’t sure. She began to Google. I asked her not to. I told her I’d rather know what I know and nothing more. It’s a just lullaby for my kids and grandkids. And probably for their kids.
Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die