American Pie chords

by Don McLean

American Pie was written by Don McLean. It was recorded May 26, 1971 and released in November 1971 from the album of the same name... re-released in November 1991.
Music: Key of G Major in 4/4 time at ~ 136 bpm (♩)
Chords: G, D, Em, C, Am, A7, D7
Don Mclean

American Pie by Don McLean

Intro: 4/4    

      G      D   Em
   A long, long time a-go
   Am              C                     Em                  D 
   I can still re-mem-ber how that mu-sic  used to make me smile
       G         D    Em                   Am                  C
   And I knew if I had  my chance___  That I could make those peo-ple dance
       Em                C             D
   And may-be they'd be hap-py for a while

 Em                Am              Em                   Am
   But Feb-ru-ary made me shi-ver___ With ev'-ry pa-per I'd de-li-ver
    C       G       Am              C                         D
   Bad news on the door-step___ I could-n't take one more step

      G        D            Em              Am            D
   I can't re-mem-ber if I cried___ When I read about his wi-dowed bride
        G            D        Em                  C      D7      G
   But some-thing touched me deep in-side___ The day the mu-sic died... so

         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   Em                       A7
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die
         Em                       D7  |  D7  |
        This'll be the day that I die"

  G                   Am                     C                Am
1. Did you write the book of love___ And do you have faith in God a-bove
 Em               D          |  D  | 
   If the Bible tells you so?
           G       D       Em                  Am                C
   Now do you be-lieve in rock 'n' roll___ Can mu-sic save your mor-tal soul
      Em                 A7          D         |  D  | 
   And  can you teach me how to dance real slow - ow?

            Em                  D
   Well, I know that you're in love with him
           Em               D
  'Cause I saw you dan-cin' in the gym
        C           G        A7               C                     D7
   You both kicked off your shoes___  Man, I dig those rhy-thm and blues

            G       D        Em
   I was a lone-ly tee-nage bron-cin' buck
           Am                     C
   With a pink car-na-tion and a pick-up truck
       G      D     Em
   But I knew I was out of luck___ 
        C      D7    | G  - C |  G                 | 
   The day the mu-sic died...     I started singin'


         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   Em                       A7
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die
         Em                       D7  |  D7  |
        This'll be the day that I die"

            G                   Am
2. Now for ten years we've been on our own
        C                  Am
   And moss grows fat on a rol-lin' stone
      Em                   D       |  D  | 
   But  that's not how it used to be
             G       D            Em
   When the jes-ter sang for the king and queen
         Am                C
   In a coat he bor-rowed from James Dean
         Em         A7               D   |  D  | 
   In a voice that came from you and me

            Em                 D
   Oh, and while the king was look-ing down
       Em                 D
   The jes-ter stole his thor-ny crown
         C         G        A7      C                    D7
   The court-room was ad-journed___ No ver-dict was re-turned
             G       D      Em                Am                 C
   And while Le-nin read a book on Marx___ A quar-tet prac-ticed in the park
       G        D      Em
   And we sang dir-ges in the dark___ 
        C      D7    | G  - C |  G                 | 
   The day the mus-ic died...      We were singin'

         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   Em                       A7
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die
         Em                       D7  |  D7  |
        This'll be the day that I die"

    G               Am
3. Hel-ter skel-ter in a sum-mer swel-ter
         C                    Am
   The birds flew off with a fall-out shel-ter
 Em                      D        |  D  | 
   Eight miles high and fal-ling fa-ast
  G            D   Em                   Am                   C
   It lan-ded foul on the grass___ The play-ers tried for a for-ward pass
            Em              A7              D   |  D  | 
   With the jes-ter on the side-lines in a cast

            Em                 D
   Now the half-time air was sweet per-fume
             Em                    D
   While the ser-geants played a march-ing tune
       C      G      A7                  C                D7
   We all got up to dance___  Oh, but we ne-ver got the chance

              G         D      Em
  'Cause the play-ers tried to take the field
        Am                 C
   The march-ing band re-fused to yield
       G      D        Em
   Do you re-call what was re-vealed
        C      D7    | G  - C |  G                 | 
   The day the mu-sic died? ...   We started sing-in' 

         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   Em                       A7
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die
         Em                       D7  |  D7  |
        This'll be the day that I die"

        G                    Am                 C             Am
4. Oh, and there we were all in one place___ A gen-e-ra-tion lost in space
        Em                D       |  D  | 
   With no time left to start again
                G       D        Em
   So come on, Jack be nim-ble, Jack be quick
    Am                  C
   Jack Flash sat on a can-dle-stick
        Em            A7               D   |  D  | 
  'Cause  fire is the de-vil's on-ly friend 

     Em                     D
   Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
       Em                      D
   My hands were clenched in fists of rage
      C       G       A7             C                  D7
   No an-gel born in Hell___ Could break that Sa-tan's spell

                G             D      Em
   And as the flames climbed high in-to the night
       Am              C
   To light the sac-ri-fi-cial rite
         G       D         Em
   I saw Sa-tan laug-hing with delight 
        C      D7    | G  - C |  G              | 
   The day the mu-sic died...     He was sing-in'

         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   Em                       A7
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die
         Em                       D7  
        This'll be the day that I die"...

      G         D        Em                      Am                 C
Outro: I met a girl who sang the blues___ And I asked her for some hap-py news
           Em                    D        |  D  |
       But she just smiled and turned a-way
       G       D          Em
       I went down to the sa-cred store
                  Am                C
       Where I'd heard the mu-sic years be-fore
               Em                 A7                D  |  D  | 
       But the man there said the mu-sic would-n't play

           Em                   D
       And in the streets, the chil-dren screamed
           Em                    D
       The lo-vers cried and the po-ets dreamed  
            C     G       A7               C                    D
       But not a word was spo-ken___ The church bells all were bro-ken

                 G       D     Em              C                    D7
       And the three men I ad-mire most___ The Fa-ther, Son and the Ho-ly Ghost
              G         D         Em
       They caught the last train for the coast
            C      D7    | G  - C | G                    | 
       The day the mu-sic died...    And they were singin'

         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   Em                       A7
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die
         Em                       D7  | D7                |  
        This'll be the day that I die"...  They were singin'

         G   C          G          D
Chorus: Bye-bye, Miss A-me-ri-can Pie
                  G            C               G           D
        Drove my Che-vy to the le-vee, but the le-vee was dry
              G        C                   G            D
        Them good ol' boys were drin-kin' whis-key and rye
                   C              D7       | G   C   G  |
        Sin-gin' "This'll be the day that I die"...

G Major

Red Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4: Fingers/Notes
Unmarked strings: Play open 
x: Don't play string
alt: alternative chord voicing

Right-Handed Chord Tabs   
            G                 D                Em                C 
    e |---|---|-3-|   e |---|-2-|---|   e |---|---|---|   e |---|---|---|
    B |---|---|---|   B |---|---|-3-|   B |---|---|---|   B |-1-|---|---|
    G |---|---|---|   G |---|-1-|---|   G |---|---|---|   G |---|---|---|
    D |---|---|---|   D |---|---|---|   D |---|-2-|---|   D |---|-2-|---|
    A |---|-1-|---|   A |---|---|---|   A |---|-1-|---|   A |---|---|-3-|
    E |---|---|-2-|   E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|   E |---|---|---|x
Frets   1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3 

           Am                D7                A7              A7 (alt) 
    e |---|---|---|   e |---|-3-|---|   e |---|---|---|   e |---|---|-2-|
    B |-1-|---|---|   B |-1-|---|---|   B |---|-3-|---|   B |---|-1-|---|
    G |---|-3-|---|   G |---|-2-|---|   G |---|---|---|   G |---|-1-|---|
    D |---|-2-|---|   D |---|---|---|   D |---|-1-|---|   D |---|-1-|---|
    A |---|---|---|   A |---|---|---|   A |---|---|---|   A |---|---|---|
    E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|x
Frets   1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3 


Left-Handed Chord Tabs 
          G                 D                Em                C
    |-3-|---|---| e   |---|-2-|---| e   |---|---|---| e   |---|---|---| e
    |---|---|---| B   |-3-|---|---| B   |---|---|---| B   |---|---|-1-| B
    |---|---|---| G   |---|-1-|---| G   |---|---|---| G   |---|---|---| G
    |---|---|---| D   |---|---|---| D   |---|-2-|---| D   |---|-2-|---| D
    |---|-1-|---| A   |---|---|---| A   |---|-1-|---| A   |-3-|---|---| A
    |-2-|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E   |---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E
      3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1   Frets
      
         Am                D7                A7              A7 (alt) 
    |---|---|---| e   |---|-3-|---| e   |---|---|---| e   |-2-|---|---| e
    |---|---|-1-| B   |---|---|-1-| B   |---|-3-|---| B   |---|-1-|---| B
    |---|-3-|---| G   |---|-2-|---| G   |---|---|---| G   |---|-1-|---| G
    |---|-2-|---| D   |---|---|---| D   |---|-1-|---| D   |---|-1-|---| D
    |---|---|---| A   |---|---|---| A   |---|---|---| A   |---|---|---| A
   x|---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E
      3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1   Frets
    

Notes

  • The first verse of the song is not in strict time and is pretty much left to the discretion of the performer (ad lib). If you are using a metronome, it would be better to start it at the beginning of verse 2, and stop it again after the chorus following verse 5.
  • American Pie is an epic song... the duration is approximately 8.36 (min/sec)
  • I have kept the chords to a minimum. Where you have extra bars of D major you can use Dsus4 and Dsus2 chords if you want ... adds color and interest.
  • This song is ideal for beginners, as there are no barre chords, and it's a fun song to play along with.
  • The last bar | G die C G ... | means you play the G chord on 'die' for 1 beat, the C chord for 1 beat and strum G on the 3rd beat and hold... let it ring out.
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