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> 'American Pie' at 15!
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liamk97
post Mar 10 2015, 12:10 AM
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“And can music save your mortal soul?”

On 5 March 2000, 15 years ago, Madonna's cover of Don McLean's iconic hit 'American Pie' allowed her to become the first artist to have a UK number one single in the 80s, 90s and 00s.

Background
Following the huge critical and commercial success of Ray of Light, Madonna teamed up with William Orbit again to tackle Don McLean's famous debut hit 'American Pie'. Together they transformed the song from an 8 minute folk rock anthem to a 4 minute dance pop record, fit to appear on the soundtrack to The Next Best Thing - a film which starred Madonna herself alongside Rupert Everett, who had in fact convinced Madonna to recreate the song in the first place. 'American Pie' later appeared on the European version of Music due to its commercial success (and presumably partly because of Orbit's involvement in the album) however Madonna later revealed to Radio 1 that it didn't belong on the album and was included because "a certain record company executive twisted [her] arm" into doing so.

The music video was directed by Philipp Stölzl who combined clips of Madonna dancing in front of an American flag and of a diverse selection of US citizens. Rupert Everett appeared in the video too. Another video was produced for the Richard 'Humpty' Vission Radio Mix which used outtakes from the original video and was used to promote The Next Best Thing in the US, despite the song not actually being officially released there.



Critical & Commercial Reception
Critical response to 'American Pie' was very split - the likes of Billboard applauded its ability to "combine futuristic electro-pop...with '70s-centric rock" whilst NME reckoned Madonna "invests the same words with all the impact of a step class instructor with a hopeless crush on the fat one out of Westlife". Caroline Sullivan admitted "Madonna sounds detached" but that "her vocals can be viewed as deliberate" when heard with the video as it allowed "the people in the video to take centre stage". Nevertheless, Don McLean revealed it was "a gift for her to have recorded 'American Pie'", considering her version "sensual and mystical" - things don't get much better than a compliment from the original artist.

Commercially, the song was a success worldwide, reaching #1 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain and the UK to name a few. It even hit #29 in the US despite no official release.

UK Chart Run: 1-2-5-8-11-17-27-34-44-51-58-70-78-76-68-69-96-91-x [18wks]

US Chart Run: 110-43-35-29-29-33-32-40-58-88 [10wks]

Live Performances
Madonna has never performed 'American Pie' live - presumably down to the fact she didn't want to record the song.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Mar 10 2015, 12:18 AM
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It's always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but not one I listen to all that often.

For some reason I bought the single of this when it was out, although I can't fathom why now.
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♡ Heezus Froot ♡
post Mar 10 2015, 12:49 AM
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I LOVE American Pie. It was released when I was 10 and I was just getting to know who Madonna was. It might have even been the song that actually introduced me to her.
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vibe
post Mar 10 2015, 01:28 PM
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I love her version smile.gif

Was so popular at the time, another number 1 smash that she despises
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liamk97
post Mar 10 2015, 11:01 PM
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Nice to see some love for 'American Pie'! I always thought it was considered the worst thing to happen to music. laugh.gif

I really like it myself and prefer it to the original, although I still appreciate everything that version stands for - I think I mentioned during the Ultimate Madonna Single thread that was held in the Pop Forum not so long ago that I have whatever the term is for "bad nostalgia" when it comes to the original, something to do with remembering feeling really ill and hearing that song when I was little. I'm glad Madonna's made the Music album as I do feel it fits pretty well.
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