The original handwritten lyrics to 'American Pie' sold for $1.57 million

An anonymous bidder has snapped up Don McLean’s original handwritten lyrics to his iconic song American Pie for $US1.2 million ($AU1.57 million).

The buyer got 237 lines and 26 lines of typed text – and possibly some fresh clues as to what one of the most interrogated ballads of all-time is actually all about.

Sold by Christie’s overnight, the pages fell short of the auction house’s record price for lyrics when $US2 million was shelled out last year for Bob Dylan’s hand-written Like A Rolling Stone lines.

But McLean, 69, told Christie’s in promoting the sale that his “writing and the lyrics will divulge everything there is to divulge”.

“You’ll see what I am thinking about. It is a piece of a dream that I am trying to capture,” he said.

“The death of Buddy Holly was the beginning of the song. That’s what came to me.

“I loved Buddy Holly and that is very autobiographical, the first part of the song.”

This page released by Christie’s features lyrics that didn’t make the song:

Picture: Christie’s Image Ltd, 2015.

And there I stood alone and afraid
I knelt to my knees and there I prayed
And I prepared to give all I had to give
If only he would make it live again

McLean said the chorus came to him while he was shopping in a New York pharmacy and he rushed home “as fast as I could” to get it down on paper.

The eight-minute ballad that followed was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and named the fifth greatest song of the 20th century by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment of the Arts.

McLean said he found the lyrics “in a big box upstairs” but kept them and was selling them for his wife and kids.

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