EXCLUSIVE: Paramount+ announced today that its documentary The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie” will premiere exclusively on the streamer on July 19th, both in the U.S. and internationally, where the service is available. The film will also get an Academy-qualifying run in Los Angeles and New York City starting on July 8th, screening in Showcase Cinemas and associated theaters globally on July 14th and 17th.
With a narrative running deeper than a catchy tune and cryptic verses, “American Pie” is a musical phenomenon woven deep into the history of American culture, which has entertained audiences around the world for over 50 years. The documentary watches as McLean, for the first time, reveals the secrets behind his iconic song. It will also highlight cultural moments in America’s history that are as relevant now as they were when the song was released in 1971.
McLean is a Grammy Award honoree, a Songwriter Hall of Fame member and a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient whose smash hit “American Pie” resides in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry and was named a top 5 song of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry of America. Released as part of an album of the same name, “American Pie” spent eight weeks on the US Billboard Charts and came in at #1 for four in 1972, also topping charts in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. McLean’s handwritten manuscript of the lyrics to the song was auctioned by Christies in 2015, selling for just over $1.2M. The singer-songwriter celebrated the tune’s 50th anniversary year, recording a new version with a cappella group Home Free, as he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Helping McLean to bring the American Pie documentary to life was Spencer Proffer, the music producer and songwriter who serves as CEO of media production company Meteor 17. In producing the pic, Proffer helped to artistically reimagine McLean’s music for a modern audience via contemporary audio/visual storytelling techniques. Bruce Gillmer, who serves as President of Music, Music Talent, Programming and Events at Paramount and Chief Content Officer, Music at Paramount+, is its executive producer.
“This documentary is something that will make people think, especially since so many throughout the years have asked me what certain lyrics meant or whom I was referring to, but now I finally can solve many of those mysteries,” said McLean. “Everyone from Madonna to Garth Brooks to Weird Al Yankovic has recorded ‘American Pie’ and made it their own. So many people have their own interpretation of the song, and I love it.”
“There are interchanges with all stripes of people from many walks of life, including major celebrities, music icons, current breaking artists and industry leaders,” said Proffer of the doc. “The film explores what ‘American Pie’ meant to people then, what it means to them now and what it will mean to generations in the future.”
“Not only is “American Pie” one of the most universally known songs of all time, it also represents a significant piece of musical history and a pivotal moment in American culture,” added Gilmer. “It’s a story that needs to be told and we;re excited to have THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED take fans deeper into its making, finally put to rest the speculation behind its lyrics and hear from today’s biggest artists – both legends and future stars – who it has personally influenced. A global sensation deserves a global launch and we’re thrilled to add this film to Paramount+’s unmatched portfolio of premiere music content.”
Watch a new trailer for The Day the Music Died unveiled today by Paramount+ by clicking above.