An anonymous bidder just paid $1.2 million for Don McLean’s “American Pie” lyrics, thus marking the day common sense died. The 16-page manuscript and accompanying notes were sold in a four-minute frenzy of bidding Tuesday morning at Christie’s in New York. Though bidding on the lyrics started at $500,000, some experts estimated that they could go for as much as $1.5 million.
The 1971 single has both been inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame and hailed as one of the Recording Industry Association Of America’s “songs of the century,” but it’s still widely regarded by critics as cloyingly mundane and on the nose with its coy, ham-fisted turns of phrase about Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the civil rights movement. Baby boomers love it, though, and McLean told Christie’s that writing the song constituted “a mystical trip into his past.”