On the song American Pie, what does the word levy means?
What does Don Maclean means by levy on his song,"American Pie".................... Drove my Chevy to the Levy, but the levy was dry? what is the exact meaning of levy?
A levee is simply a man-made embankment built to keep a river from overflowing its banks or to prevent ocean waves from washing into undesired areas.
Izabela has it correct. Levees are very common next to the Mississipi River as the water level for the river is higher than the land in some places. When the hurricane hit that area a few years ago, the levees were unable to contain the water and lower Mississipi and especially New Orleans were innundated with water.
I have to go with Izabela. I think it should be "levee" and not "levy".
A side note: does anyone else think that this song goes on -- and on -- and on -- and on? But it is a classic and has stood the test of time.
I guess you could try songfacts.com
I'm not sure how much of what is written there is fact and how much is fiction (or opinion) but there are a couple of entries stating that "The Levee" was the name of a bar.
On his own website Don McLean is quoted as saying "[The lyrics] are beyond analysis. They’re poetry".
I think it has something to do with funds, revenue or taxes. Check this out amybe you can figure it out.
Here are the lyrics from the web (note "levee"):
So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
It sounds like "levy" because it has to rhyme with "Chevy" but this "levee" in the song means a "drinking place" - whisky and rye
If anyone is interested, here is an interesting interpretation of this song.
And here is another about the connection of the song to Buddy Holly that tends to lend credence to the first link
After reading both of these, I would tend to agree that levee is used metaphorically and by saying that the levee was dry, Don Mclean is lamenting the loss of his idol and the source of his musical inspiration (just like the levee was where one would find water). The water drying up is a comment on how he feels about his inspiration being gone following the death of Buddy Holly.
"The Levee" was a bar on North Avenue in New Rochelle, NY, which is now called "Beachmont Tavern." The story is told that this bar was a hangout for Don McLean when he was a student at Iona Prep school in New Rochelle. "The Levee was dry" may refer to one of the many occasions when the Levee lost its liquor licence due to inadequate enforcement of liquor laws.
The "sacred store" was the House of Music in New Rochelle, and "the man there" who "said the music wouldn't play" was the proprietor, Mr. Fink.
Here is a news clip from the flooding and it mentions "leeves"