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The Day the Music Died Doc Set for Paramount+


Paramount+ is set to launch the new original documentary The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie” in the U.S. and internationally in July.

The doc features McLean sharing the secrets behind his iconic song and highlights cultural moments in America’s history that are as relevant now as they were in 1971, when “American Pie” was released. The Day the Music Died will premiere exclusively on Paramount+ on Tuesday, July 19.

The documentary will have a special Academy-qualifying run in New York City and Los Angeles starting on July 8 and will screen in Showcase Cinemas and associated theaters globally on July 14 and July 17.

McLean enlisted music producer and songwriter Spencer Proffer, CEO of media production company Meteor 17, to assist on the documentary. Together, Proffer and McLean tell the story of “American Pie” by using contemporary audio/visual storytelling techniques to artistically reimagine the music for a modern audience.

McLean said: “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. 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.”

Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming and events at Paramount, and chief content officer of music at Paramount+, said: “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. 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.”

Proffer said: “There are interchanges with all stripes of people from many walks of life, including major celebrities, music icons, current breaking artists and industry leaders. 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.”

About Chelsea Regan

Chelsea Regan is the managing editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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