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Song Parodies -> "If Don McLean Wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald""

Original Song Title:

"American Pie"

 (MP3)
Original Performer:

Don McLean

Parody Song Title:

"If Don McLean Wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald""

Parody Written by:

Michael Pacholek

The Lyrics

Okay, John A. Barry laid down the gauntlet with "If Gilbert and Sullivan Wrote... " So, here goes. Note that Canada's leading news magazine, their equivalent of Time, is called MacLean's. No, I'm not making that up. In 1999, visiting Detroit to see Tiger Stadium before it closed (the Tigers lost to the White Sox, 7-1, on Memorial Day weekend), I found the Mariners' Church by accident, and there is a historical plaque there that mentions, among other things, the commemoration of the dead of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how
Lightfoot songs used to make me smile.

And I knew if he read my mind
he'd know that I liked the kind
of songs he sang, so happy for a while.

But then came witches of November
and Gordon wrote, and we'd remember:
Bad news on Superior:
Boat sank to its interior.

I can remember if I cried:
I didn't hear. Just five, no lie.
But something touched me deep inside
when twenty-nine swabs died.

So slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Did you read Chippewa tale
of Hiawatha, hearty, hale
if Longfellow told you so?

And do you feel this ship rock and roll?
Can you hear, for you, big bell toll?
And can you get us to Whitefish Bay real slow?

Well, I know, the cook, you begged of him
but he said the waves are rough and grim.
We all got up to eat.
Oh, but our meal we won't complete.

I was a first-grade kid in New Jersey
watching Howard K. Smith, ABC
but didn't hear him tell story
of how the swabbies died.

He was singing:
Slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Now, for one year, he was on his own:
Lightfoot tried to find right tone.
'Cause that's how he made money.

Well, he gestured toward a magazine:
It's Canada, so it's called MacLean's.
Yeah, I know, that's a little irony.

Oh, and when the ship was going down
so it would not reach Cleveland town
through Lightfoot's fingers burned
a song that's much returned.

And while waves left sailors in the lurch
to not deliver iron merch
they sang some dirges in the church
for twenty-nine swabs, died.

They were singing:
Slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Witching, twitching, big freighter pitching.
No lifeboats, so no one ditching.
If they had, they'd still drown fast.

Hurricane west wind not past.
The sailors knew it was their last
and no gesture ever sidelined waves that bashed.

Now, the Billboard charts we could resume
while Lightfoot had Number 2 tune.
Not one to which you'd dance
'cause the sailors had no chance.

But the chance at Number 1 was sealed
"Tonight's the Night," Rod wouldn't yield.
Now you know, the truth's revealed.
But still... the swabbies, died.

Gordon's singing:
Slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Oh, and there they were, all in that place:
The Mariners' Church, Detroit place
with widows' lives to start again.

So, come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack light novena candlestick
'cause comfort is the mourner's only friend.

Oh, and as I watched Lightfoot perform
my hands were clenched in prayer so warm.
No angel born Canuck
can raise men from that muck.

And as the notes climbed high into the night
to tell how ship lost weather's fight
I saluted Gordon Foot-of-Light
who told how swabbies died.

He was singing:
Slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

I was too young on that night
to remember Brinkley or Cronkite
deliver that news, or Howard K.

Was in Detroit in '99
when I saw church, and read the sign.
And it said there, this was where the mourners prayed.

On Avenue named Jefferson
where widows cried, and child, each one
not a word was spoken.
My crusty heart sat broken.

And this song that I've parodied most
is not something that I should boast.
Bowed head on Detroit River's coast
in memory of those died.

And I was singing:
Slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

I was singing:
So slip, slip, that American ship.
Dove and sinking, in the drinking, its lights blinking, a blip.
And good old boys knew this would be their last trip
singing, "This'll be the day that I die."

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Voting Results

 
Pacing: 3.7
How Funny: 3.7
Overall Rating: 3.7

Total Votes: 15

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   5
 5
 5
 
 2   0
 0
 0
 
 3   0
 0
 0
 
 4   0
 0
 0
 
 5   10
 10
 10
 

User Comments

Comments are subject to review, and can be removed by the administration of the site at any time and for any reason.

Patrick - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Tommy Turtle did a smoosh of Edmund Fitzgerald into American Pie about a year before your "If Jimmy Web....". You have brought the second wave of the Fitzgerald parody phenomenon full circle. A wonderful mix of the original story, Lightfoot's song and your own reactions. I was in college in Indiana, a stormy night there, but nothing like what was happening a few hundred miles to the north. American Pie is a tough tune to master, you have done justice to it and to Edmund Fitzgerald. And in all our attempts to have fun with the lyrics you have not forgotten that real men died doing their job.
Wendy Christopher - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Gordon Lightfoot could learn a thing or two from you, I think, Michael - and Don Mclean too. This was beautifully done; the perfect blend of humour and pathos, particularly with the theme of the OS which does, after all, tell a tale of tragedy. 555 for sure.
AFW - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
You and LL bottom out todays submits with fine performances,. a top notch.heartfelt rendition, very well phrased and enoyable to read..
Timmy - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Good rendition of the story and I liked the additional points.
Leough - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
555! Two outstanding AmPies in one day!
John Barry - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Two Big Sevens plus one.
Lifeliver - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
Congrats, Michael, very nicely done. Two on the same day inevitably invite comparisons but they were entirely different focuses and approaches. I especially liked the personal touch in this with the old church, and the way you worked in the Lightfoot title in the first verse. For 29 men it was the final sundown. 555
Meriadoc - December 13, 2012 - Report this comment
I liked the irony part, Rod keeping the song from #1, and of course Canuck/muck. I'm not too young to remember the actual incident, but I still don't.

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