02/18/2015 03:15 pm ET Updated Feb 18, 2015

Why Don McLean Won't Explain The Meaning Of 'American Pie'

As Don McLean prepares the release of his next album "Botanical Gardens," the singer-songwriter is also letting go of a piece of "American Pie," his enduring hit from 1971.

A 16-page original manuscript that includes several drafts of the song is slated to be auctioned in April. It's expected to sell for as much as $1.5 million and may shed light on the song's meaning, which has long been a bit of a mystery; McLean has only confirmed that the line "the day the music died" refers to the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson on the same day in 1959. But now the highest bidder has a chance to gain insight into McLean's thinking as he penned the lyrics, he told HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri on Wednesday.

"I think they'll know what was going on in my mind. That's about all I can say," McLean said. "I'm not cagey about it. It's not a parlor game, so I just never got into that. People seem to need to do that."

McLean said he assumes part of the mythology surrounding the song's meaning stems from an era of musical "mysteries," including the infamous "Paul is dead" theory concocted by suspicious Beatles fans.

But one reason McLean won't explain the song further is that many listeners have already made up their minds about its meaning.

"I've been told that if I were to say that, people would say, 'Well, no, you're wrong.' ... They'd say, 'You're not writing about that, I know what it means.' So I don't even get into it," he said.

McLean was more willing to discuss the business side of "American Pie" -- specifically, his many failed attempts to get a platinum record to commemorate the song's success. Despite his estimates that he's made "probably $60 million" for Capitol Records, the company evaded him until he had to buy his own record, McLean said.

To see more of the interview, check out the video above.



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