Capitol Records/UMeThe original manuscript to arguably one of the most famous and enduring songs of the 20th century, Don McLean‘s “American Pie,” is set to go on the auction block at Christie’s in New York City on April 7. The 16-page document, which also includes typed drafts of the tune, is expected to fetch between $1 million and $1.5 million, according to the auction house.

Released in November 1971, “American Pie,” spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January and February of the following year. Using the tragic death of Buddy Holly — the song coined the term “The Day the Music Died” — as a launching point, the song metaphorically traces the history of rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s through the turbulent ’60s, while reflecting the loss of innocence America experienced during the political and cultural upheaval of the era.

McLean has always refused to explain many of his song’s enigmatic passages, although the complete manuscript may shed new light on the mysteries of its lyrics. The 69-year-old singer/songwriter tells Rolling Stone that he decided to sell the document for the sake of his family.

“I’m going to be 70 this year,” he says. “I have two children and a wife, and none of them seem to have the mercantile instinct. I want to get the best deal that I can for them. It’s time.”

He also reveals that he’s planning to part ways with more memorabilia in the not-too-distant future.

“In a year or two, I’m going to have a big Christie’s auction with guitars, clothes, boots, saddles, silver and watches,” McLean maintains. “I collect a lot of stuff. It’s time to let other people have it.”

Prior to the auction, the “American Pie” manuscript will on public display at Christie’s April 2, 3, 4 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The auction house is located at 20 Rockefeller Center in New York.

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