I read the lyrics as I listened to the song (first time in probably decades) and the words touched me as I finally understood.
The comments on this post clued me in to the fact that there may be other great Don McLean songs that I never heard. I went to UTube music and searched. I was amazed! I found a number of beautiful songs, fantastic poetry -- some sad, all poignant.
Let me recommend highly that you also listen to some of them on UTrube. Among those I recommend arte (1) :Crossroads", (2) "Homeless Brother" (McLean takes woody Guithrie 10 steps further), (3)"When July Comes", (4) "Empty Chair", (5) "The Pride Parade." Let me know what you think.
I was teaching at Knox College in Illinois when McLean's "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie" came out. At time, a young lady was doing her student-teaching at a local junior high and I was her supervisor. She was teaching a unit on poetry (and you know how little interest most junior high kids have in poetry). Brilliantly, Chris used "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie" as a lead-in to the unit's study, and had them analyze it.
The kids ate it up! Then, they were so willing to venture into poetry that she was able to have them deal with more conventional forms of poetry, loving it all the way! It was beautiful to watch.