American Pie chords & lyrics

by Don McLean

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

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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