This is one of those songs that quietly disappeared on radio after its initial run. For years it was rarely played. It got brought back with the advent of “Oldies” formatted stations on FM, in markets big and small, and then was overplayed. I’m quite content to hear it once or twice as year, but it was getting played every day on some stations, and people just burned out on it.
The thing that always struck me about “American Pie” is that isn’t really representative of Don McLean’s general musical style. Songs like “Vincent” were closer to what you’d find on his albums, and I have about a half-dozen of them. He was a really good singer-songwriter, but had it not been for “American Pie,” he wouldn’t be remembered today.
Once asked if he “hated” the song, McClean said (paraphrasing): “Why should I? It made me a millionaire overnight.”