What model Chevy features in "American Pie?"

May 20, 2011 12:00 AM

Fans of musical history are likely familiar with Don McLean's "American Pie," a song which references the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. McLean famously calls the tragic accident "The Day the Music Died," and the song is generally thought to be about a young man growing up, with much of his innocence lost on the day of the plane crash.

McLean's hit song is noted for its wide range of references, as it continues on from 1959 to include allusions to many musical acts of the 1960s, such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Essentially a nostalgic look back at the 1960s, the song doesn't solely reference music. Quite prominently, in the song's chorus is the famous phrase "drove my Chevy to the levee/but the levee was dry."

We decided to take a look at the lyrics a bit more closely to decipher what vehicle McLean might have been reminiscing about. There's another car mentioned in the song, although not by brand name. McLean says that he showed up to a school dance "with a pink carnation and a pickup truck."

If we take the year to be 1959 and assume that the pickup truck and Chevy are one in the same, that narrows down the list quite a bit. Chevrolet made a pickup until 1955 known as the "Advanced Series." It was later replaced by the "Task Force," which is notable as featuring the first V8 engine in a Chevy. In 1959, the car was replaced by the C/K pickup, which lasted all the way until the new millennium, when it was replaced by the Silverado. 

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