Madonna's "American Pie" Rendition Celebrates 20 Years
Covering a classic tune is always a risk, keeping the character of the song to appease loyal fans while still making it your own. The hit-or-miss potential is higher than many artists are willing to gamble, but Madonna’s performance of “American Pie”, the essential addition to every 4th of July playlist, came with all of her colorful quirks and still managed to top the charts.
Madonna recorded “American Pie” for the soundtrack of her starring film The Next Best Thing at the request of her co-star, English entertainer Rupert Everett. Despite the movie’s poor reception, the cover rose to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and made its way up to #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. In true Madonna fashion, the accompanying music video for “American Pie” pushes the limit in terms of what was acceptable at the time of its release. In an attempt to showcase a variety of America’s demographics, the video displayed intimate footage of same-sex couples, in addition to other working class citizens of all races and ages. Madonna spends the video dancing in front of the American flag sporting a sparkling tiara, but who’s surprised?
While some disapproved of Madonna’s injection of her dance-pop energy into the hit rock song, Don McLean highly praised her cover of his work that propelled him into the spotlight during his earlier days.
“I loved it. I thought it was outstanding. I thought Madonna did a great job with it. To me, she’s an artist for the 20th and the 21st century. She’s magnificent,” McLean claimed about the pop icon during a 2015 interview. "It is a gift for her to have recorded 'American Pie’. I think it is sensual and mystical. I also feel that she's chosen autobiographical verses that reflect her career and personal history. I have received many gifts from God but this is the first time I have ever received a gift from a goddess.”