American Pie

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A circle during American Pie at Duke West

American Pie is one of the traditional songs at all of the main campuses. At the last dance of the term, a lot of people start bawling when it is played, especially fourth years. It is meant to signal the closing of any major event at Tip, and basically the start of a whole bunch of sadness and nostalgia.

How to Do It

The traditional dance for the song is to form a large circle (with most or all of the TIPsters). Then everyone begins kicking their legs in rhythm with the song. Eventually, the circle breaks down into smaller ones and some people (usually during the faster parts) link their arms and spin. However, at some campuses, traditions differ, such as there are always separate circles, and/ or the absence of a kick line. After the line "This will be the day that I die" is sung, it is traditional for everyone to shout "Die, die, die!". TIPsters should know, however, that during the chorus following the slow verse, "Die, die, die!" is not chanted, except by that one second year, who is widely ignored nonetheless. Others believe that it is insulting to yell the "Die, die, die" due to the fact that Don McLean (writer of the song) was writing the song about Buddy Holly, who was supposedly "the next Elvis" and tragically died in a plane crash. However this is not a sign of evil or intentional harm, but just a joke to laugh off.

At ASU

There is no particular method to the madness at ASU, and many TIPsters slow danced, coming together only for the choruses, and those who did not have partners moved off to the sides. Although in 2008 Term 2 giant circles were formed and hand motions to the chorus were used.

There was a scare term II 2011, where American Pie was intentionally not played at the second dance. This outraged numerous ASU die-hards, who threatened to drive up to Boone and beat the RC's into submission to play the song.

As of ASU Term 2 2014, there is a large circle around the smaller circle of RCs. Kick lines are mandatory, as are hand motions and literally kicking off your shoes.

At East

(Edit: Traditionally (from experience), all years and staff gathered together in one large circle and held hangs and sang together at the end of each dance. This signaled that it was time to go back to your dorm room and pretend to be asleep until your RC fell asleep and then commence smuggling blankets, pillows, etc into other rooms for sleepover-style parties. However, in 2003, two 3rd year students, Tiffany and Michael, decided to begin running around the inside of the circle dancing. At the last dance of Duke East Term II 2003 this caught on with several 3rd and 4th years participating. Duke East Term II 2004 the same individuals began the inner circle running again as 4th years. This evolved into an actual "inner circle" for all 4th years who wished to behave like complete idiots.)

It's like this: there's one big circle (on the circle quad, naturally) composed of all second years and third years. Inside that, there is a fourth year circle. The fourth year circle is holy. You can't really imagine what it's like to be in this one until you're actually in it. Outside of all of this (usually on the street) the staff makes its own circle. The American Pie circle is the best 8 minutes of any human being's life. It surpasses the point where it can still be described by words. The best way to describe an American Pie Circle is indescribably fantastically stunningly amazing (or any other random string of adverbs that are synonyms for awesome.)

Kicking happens during all the main verses except for the slow part, which is just swaying. It has not always been the tradition during Term 2 at East for the large circle to form. This is a recent occurrence (2002ish). At Term I 2006, the students had to form one large circle for a minute in order to "earn" the right to stay up the whole night, as mandated by Sam Prevatt, the OSC. The fourth years did, however, form their own circle after the first verse and chorus. In addition, at Term 2, 2008, all TiPsters had to form a circle to win back the Llama. This was a blow to the fourth years, as it is tradition to have a separate 4th year circle, but they decided that Llama Llove was stronger than that tradition. A few unloyal TiPsters merely ran around the circle, determined NOT to get back the Llama, but their efforts failed, and Kyle [the Llama Mama] and Steve Wazny [the guy who lost the Llama] went to the steps of the Union to retrieve the Llama from Laurel [the Mind and Manuipulation TA who stole the Llama]. Similar events occurred at Term 2, 2009, when the Llama was stolen during the flight. On this occasion, there were no more dances to win the Llama back during, so TIPsters formed a large circle and sang the song with Fat Tony Giovanni playing guitar in the center.

In 2010, Duke University requested (demanded) that TIPsters stay off the quads. While this request (demand) went ignored for the first dance of Term 1, the OSC and Main Office did not put up a sufficient fight, and thus both the second and third dances were held on the street in between the quad and the Union. TIPsters accepted this, and they danced, YATTA'd, and awkwardly grinded (grind chains were started by some ridiculously epic 3rd years)in the street- but nothing could stop American Pie. As soon as the music started, every single tipster rushed the quad. Not one stayed behind to avoid trouble; the circles were formed just as they had been in past years. Not a single staff member stopped them.

At Davidson

Here's what happened 2015 term 1: The dance was only in the 900 room the first dance, but was then moved to that big room in chamberss. Everyone got in a big circle around the room, with the RCs and TAs in a circle in the middle of everyone, with everyone kicking their legs and shouting "die, die, die!" at that one part and we did it at the end of every dance.

The staff stays on the upper level of the 900 Room, which is continued until the end of the dance. In 2005, students popularly acted out parts of the chorus, such as miming drinking whisky and rye. As of 2007, students would break into some smaller groups with one HUMONGOUS group in the center and kick their legs and yell "die, die, die" after the line "this will be the day that I die", except for the slow part.

TiPster Testimony: Honestly, in my two years at Davidson (08 and 09), we never did American Pie. The song was perhaps played once, but then I was warding off a particularly courageous TiPster attempting to garner my romantic attention. Anyway, nobody to my knowledge regarded American Pie as a TiP tradition, TiP song, or even remotely associated it with TiP. When I went to West, I was enlightened. 2nd Testimony: At term 2 2011 it varied. The first dance the staff were a big circle and all the tipsters got the idea, and they formed sort of kicking lines. The first and second dances were in the back of Chambers. The second dance was the same as the first. The third dance, however, the staff was at the top of the 900 room, giving all tipsters a beautiful view of the process, and circles of about 12-15 tipsters were formed, complete with shoeless-feet. 3rd Testimony: Term 2 2012 it was played near the end of every dance, and the staff was in the middle, showing the kids how to do it, kicking lines and "Die, die, die". It was obviously a tradition. 4th Testimony During 2011 Term I legendary Art Baum taught his Cryptography class all of the widespread TiP traditions. He explained that at the dance we were to form a big circle and kick (and to never ever say die, die, die after the slow verse.) He showed us that during the quiet part of Blister in the Sun you are supposed to stay low until the slow part is over, and he showed us how to do the Time Warp. Anyway, the class tried to get everyone into a big circle, but failed (outnumbered by a lot.) TiPsters got the idea of kicking, but it was done basically in lines and not circles. By the third dance people had quit yelling die, die, die at inopportune moments, but Davidson Term I 2011 never saw an American Pie Circle. :(

At West

West is usually along the same lines as East when it comes to the circles. Though there has never been a time when the fourth years have not been allowed to form their own circle. There is always one large circle. The large circle usually forms in Kilgo but does not go around the Magnolia tree because it is so large. A few second and third years also always try to crash the fourth year circle, which has led to a few punches being thrown by fourth years that care about tradition. It also should be noted that the RCs form a line along the steps and kick as well. A few other TIPsters also jump on top of the Sigma Nu bench and form a kicking line, it seems they think they are too cool for tradition, which is really just sad. After the traditional shouting of "die, die, die," Fourth year TIPsters shout "live, live, live, live, sex, sex, sex, sex" followed by "more, more, more, more." Note that it is disrespectful to shout this directly before the slow part or shout it at all if you aren't a fourth year, but there are always some ridiculous second years who do this. During term II 2011, during the line "you both kicked off your shoes," 4th years actually kicked off their shoes into the circle. During term I 2012, at the second dance, staff paused American Pie in the middle of the song and threatened to take away the last dance if TIPsters sang anything other than "die, die, die." To prevent the loss of Honey's or Doctor Doctor, the word 'sex' was replaced with the word 'TIP' for American Pie during the last dance. On the last night of that term, fourth years played the song one last time, shouting at the top of their lungs, "die, die, die, live, live, live, live, SEX, SEX, SEX, SEX, more, more, more, more!" During term 1 2014, at the last dance, most of the fourth years kicked off their shoes at the line, "You both kicked off your shoes." The kicking off of shoes during this line was brought back by fourth years in term 1 2017 when a fourth year girl wanted to discreetly follow this line and kick off her shoes and accidentally kicked it off a bit too hard sending it 30 feet up into the air and landing about 20 feet away. After seeing this feat, other fourth years joined in, starting a revolution.

At the University of Georgia

At UGA, the tradition of the 'fourth year circle' was adopted from ASU. No other TIPsters are allowed within the smaller circle. The exception to this rule is during the last dance, when two third years have joined their significant others in the fourth year circle. One was Lauren Frankle who was joining her boyfriend "Vinny the TIPtator" Glass. This was silently questioned by some, but ultimately let slide with the understanding that it was a break which would only be acceptable in such situations and only on the last night. Honorary fourth years may not join the circle, despite the honorary status. All second and third years had their own, larger circle, in which they all put their arms around each other and sway. Also, the staff has a circle in which they do not put their arms around each other, but rather dance wildly and sway only during the slow portion.

At term II 2010, there was a second year who attempted to break into the circle and thence stole some tossed glo sticks at the Rave dance. She immediately became a most-hated person by the fourth years at UGA. It would be advised not to do this.

Unlike other campuses, there is simultaneous kicking to the beat at UGA. The shouting of 'Die, die, die!' is in common with TIP tradition, and is never shouted after the slow verse. When the lyric "We all kicked off our shoes" is sung, all of the 4th years kick off their shoes (this tradition was started at Term 1 2011). It is also customary to throw in your lanyard during American Pie at the last dance to symbolize you're passage out of the program. Some fourth years of 2009 chose to perform a default choreography to the chorus (invented in 2006 at ASU and brought to UGA), but it was not performed by all fourth years.

Media:http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/7/074kd.jpg/

At Texas A&M

At Texas A&M, form a large circle of second years and third years, with a group of fourth years only inside. If you are not a fourth year, prepare to die if you stand inside the circle. During the song, everyone puts their arms around each other, whilst swaying, and kicking their feet to the beat. After " This'll be the day that I die", you yell DIE DIE DIE, even during the slow section (adjust to the beat/tempo as necessary). The second time around, fourth years yell LIVE LIVE LIVE. People normally sing along to what they know, and everyone joins in for the chorus. Unlike at UGA, honorary fourth years, and significant others of fourth years DO NOT join in the circle.

At DUML

At the Duke Marine Lab in 2009, when the song was played TIPsters formed multiple circles and swayed to the song. That year, a special "Dorm 5" circle was formed during the song at one of the dances because it was the only co-ed dorm on campus and the TIPsters in that dorm had a very special bond. Some other songs that are (or were when I went there) important to the TIPsters at DUML include: Living on a Prayer and I'm on a Boat.

As of 2013, when the song was played second to last, the fourth years made their own circle on the inside, while the second and third years made a larger circle on the outside. Due to the relatively few amount of fourth years in 2013 (6 - Emily, Lily, Ariel, Radhika, Andrew and Hans), one honorary fourth year was allowed into the fourth year circle (Camila). The second and third years didn't really understand the importance of being a fourth year and generally grew restless, but the fourth years treasured the moment by doing kick circles, swaying during the chorus and making stuff up as they went along. The small circle of seven people kind of worked as an advantage, as everyone got to share one last personal moment with one another at the end of each dance. It should be noted that the most important and always last song (as of 2012 & 2013 anyway) is Don't Stop Believing.

At Rice University

At Rice, form a large circle of second years and third years, with a group of fourth years only inside. If you are not a fourth year, prepare to die if you stand inside their circle. During the song, everyone puts their arms around each other and starts swaying. As the beat picks up at the end of the first chorus, everyone starts kicking to the beat. After " This'll be the day that I die", you yell DIE DIE DIE, even during the slow section (adjust to the beat/tempo as necessary). The second time around, fourth years yell DIE DIE DIE LIVE LIVE LIVE SEX SEX SEX MORE MORE MORE. At the part of the song that goes "You both kicked off your shoes" fourth years kick off their shoes into the middle of their circle. People normally sing along to what they know, and everyone joins in for the chorus. Honorary fourth years and significant others of fourth years DO NOT join in the circle.

At Trinity University

Every dance, the two final songs are Time Warp and American Pie. Once American Pie comes on there are those singing along and others who are like "Why is this song so long?" The tipsters go on the outside circle and the staff goes on the inside circle. The first two dances are normally crazy, but by the last one everyone has the hang of it, except for the handful of people who sing DIE,DIE,DIE in the slow verse. The end of the song on the last day is a good time to begin to cry because you only have 36 hours left.

In 2018 the staff/RC had a dance for the chorus of American Pie when they circled up in the middle. For the "Bye, bye, miss american pie", they would sorta just wave like they were saying goodbye. "Drove my chevy to the levy but the levy was dry" was when they would mimic driving a car with their hands. For "Them good ol' boys drinking whiskey and rye" they'd put their hands up to their mouth, alternating them on the beat, with just their thumb and pinky finger sticking out. Then came the traditional "die die die".

At Georgia Tech

The last songs at the dances are usually Time Warp, The Last Saskatewan Pirate, and American Pie. At Tech, American Pie is played last. The second and third years form a big circle containing the TA/instructor/RC circle which contains the fourth year circle. During the song, everyone puts their arms around each other in their own little circle while kicking their feet to the beat/words. After "This will be that I die", everyone yells, "DIE, DIE, DIE!" after which the fourth years yell, "LIVE, LIVE, LIVE, SEX, SEX, SEX, MORE, MORE, MORE!", However, after the first dance in term 2 2018, staff threatened to ban the song if the words were chanted

At Wake Forest

As of Term 2, 2016, this is how they did American Pie. Tipsters would form a large circle around of the edge of the gym or barn, and RC's would have the inner circle. During the verses, RCs would run around the circle and high five tipsters. During the choruses, would do the famous kick line. During the slow part everyone swayed. We chanted "DIE DIE DIE" while doing slow kicks, and everyone kicked off their shoes. American Pie was the last song.

Variations By Year/Term

  • At West II 2005 a new part of the tradition was borrowed from the Center for Talented youth program (CTY), where after "This will be the day that I die" you yell "die, die, die, die, live, live, live, live, sex, sex, sex, sex, more, more, more, more" and then go back to being sad in your circle.
  • It was also attempted at East Term 1, 2005 to change the "Die, die, die" to "love, love, love," which should be appreciated as a demonstration about the unconditional affection that TIPsters should feel for each other. However, the purpose of the chant is to remind TIPsters of the way the program is a metaphor for life
  • At West II 2004 & 2005, the circle was broken during the fast part...people would separate to dance and then get back in the main circle for the end.
  • At Texas I 2008:
    • Swaying during first verse, then moshing, than kneeling on the ground for the last verse
    • Getting into a circle, swaying during the verses, kicking on all verses except last verse, and than returning to kicking for the final refrain
    • Getting into a circle for the first verse, swaying, circle breaks up, people start jumping around solo moshing until last verse where circle starts swaying again
  • At Texas II 2009
    • A legendary man by the name of John Jak Alouicious Doughtery III was responsible for a brand new segment of the American Pie dance. During the the section where DIE DIE DIE is yelled, immediately after, he would yell LIVE LIVE LIVE. This tradition was upheld by several 4th years including Holden Van Houtan first round, Holden and Kyle Duazo second round, and Holden, Kyle and Damien Murphy? (i think) third round. There is great hope that the tradition will continue at A&M for many years to come. and if its not, Holden will be back as an RC to make sure it will be.
  • At East II 2009:
    • Due to the early departure of the TiPsters (Swine09), everyone gathered in a circle and sang the whole song a capella to win back the Llama from the staff, and as a final tribute to the fourth-years.
  • At Texas II 2011
    • As an attempt to continue tradition, the words LIVE LIVE LIVE were shouted after the second "This'll be the day that I die" in the chorus. This was also shouted at the end of the song. This is now a tradition and should be upheld.
  • At West II 2009:
    • A seperate circle was formed consisting of mostly Asians. Toward the middle of the song, one guy suggested shouting "AZN AZN AZN, etc" instead of the traditional "die, die,etc" so thus everyone obeyed and everyone heard them, causing many weird looks.
  • At Davidson Term 1 2017
    • During the first dance, everyone got into a huge circle and a lot of TiPsters kicked their shoes off at the part "You both kicked off your shoes." some peoples shoes flew all the way across the room. The RCs and TAs stopped anyone else from kicking their shoes.

Lyrics

It is customary to sing along with the song when one knows the words.

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How those diamonds used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my diamonds
I could mine that obsidian
And maybe I’d be in the Nether for a while

But all the ghosts made me shiver
With every quartz  I'd deliver
Dead bodies in the Nether
I couldn't take one more trip

I can't remember if I cried
When I read the wikis online
But something mined me deep inside
The day the diamonds died

So bye, bye Minecraft Steve
Drove my Minecart to the spawn but the spawn was empty
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' potions and pie
Singin' "This'll be the day that I mine
This'll be the day that I mine"

Did you write the book of love?
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you're in love with him
'Cause I saw you dancin' in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died

I started singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie 
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry 
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye 
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die 
This'll be the day that I die"

Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone
But that's not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
In a voice that came from you and me

Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

And while Lennon read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

We were singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie 
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry 
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye 
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die 
This'll be the day that I die"

Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fall out shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

'Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie 
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry 
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye 
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die 
This'll be the day that I die"

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
'Cause fire is the devil's only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan's spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie 
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry 
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye 
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die 
This'll be the day that I die"

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn't play

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

And they were singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie 
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry 
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye 
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die 
This'll be the day that I die"

They were singin'
Bye, bye Miss American Pie 
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry 
And them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey in Rye 
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die 
This'll be the day that I die"

Lyrics from Lyricwiki.org

A Tip Tribute

Written by Jared London, a third year at Duke West Term II 2012

A long long time ago,

I can still remember,

how your faces used to make me smile.

And I knew if I had my chance

I would go to one more dance,

and maybe I'd be happy for a while.

But today did make me shiver,

with every hug that I delivered.

Bad news on the forecast,

my sorrow remains unsurpassed.

I can remember when I cried

long after I applied.

But something touched me deep inside,

The day had finally arrived.

So......


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

This will be a day I won't hide.


Did you write the book of rules

And do you have love for those sorry fools

If the RC's tell ya to?

Now do you believe in summer school?

Does Green Tape mark Timbuktu?

And can you teach me how to program real slow?


And I know that you're in love with TIP

Cause I saw those teardrops slowly drip

Your heartfelt cries were heard,

Boy I feel the emotions of a nerd

I was a lonely teenage geeky guy

With a pair of glasses and American pie

But I knew I was bout to die

The day had finally arrived

So....


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

This will be a day I won't hide.


Now for a few days we've been on our own

And we've grown fat from food at home

But that's not how it used to be

When one direction sang for the talent show

it was a song that they didn't really know

so they used a voice that was not their own.

Oh and while the boss was looking down,

The tipsters flipped her needless frown

The Campsite was adjourned

No fourth years will return.

And while Relation Tips began to spark

The teams played Frisbee in the park

And we danced slowly in the dark

The day had finally arrived

So....


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

This will be a day I won't hide.


Helter skelter in the school years' swelter

The TIPsters hid in their mental shelters

With smiles that were fading fast

TIPression hit them with a blast

The sorrow just continued to last

But we remembered the good times and kicked its ass

The dances with their sweet perfume

And the DJ with his joyous tunes

We all got up to dance

Oh but we never got the chance

For the rain kicked us from the field

but we TIPsters refused to yield

Our discomfort was soon healed

The day had finally arrived

So.....


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

This will be a day I won't hide.


Now we were separated from our dates

We're distributed all across the states

Except for the boy named Amin

So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick

Jack fly across for your lonely chick

Cause distance is the devil's only friend

Cause I watched them in a mental haze

with fists clenched in a fit of rage

The teardrops quickly fell

But it couldn't break the fateful spell

And as the planes climbed high into the night

The children were gripped with strange fright

I saw Satan laughing with delight

the day had finally arrived

So....


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

This will be a day I won't hide.


I met a girl who sang some tunes

And I asked her for some happy news

But she just smiled and turned away

I went down to the lonely door

Where I had entered long before

But the man there said it was time to leave

And in the halls the children screamed

The RC's cried, and the fourth years dreamed

But not a word was spoken

All our hearts were broken

And the three that I remember most

my mother, son, and that perfect ghost

They caught the last flight from the coast

The day had finally arrived

so.....


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

This will be a day I won't hide.

And.......


"bye bye" said these tipsters with pride,

Took the buses to the airport and then they all cried

These good old guys yeah I've set them aside

Saying this will be a day I won't hide

Artist's Statement

Alright guys here it is, my final installment to my personal TIP tribute, a remake of American Pie, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks to everyone for making my 3 weeks at TIP the most memorable of my life. Many of those close to me were referenced in this song, but it is up to you to decode the true meaning of these lyrics. Though the song was created a little later than expected I hope those reading it feel it was worth the wait. For those who I will see again, I look forward to our next meeting, and to those I won't, I will miss you dearly. Thanks again to everyone and I hope to see you soon. -Jared

P.S. NO grammar corrections i know!