NEW YORK, April 7 (UPI) -- The original manuscript of Don McLean's "American Pie" sold Tuesday for $1.2 million at an auction at Christie's in New York.
The manuscript included 16 pages of notes and lyrics for the iconic 1971 rock song, which famously includes the words "the day the music died."
Tom Lecky, Christy's head of books and manuscripts, said "American Pie" was the third most expensive American literary manuscript to sell at auction.
"This result is a testament to the creative genius of Don McLean and to the song's ability to still engage and inspire," Lecky said in a statement.
The meaning behind the song's lyrics have been widely discussed over the years. McLean, 69, has only said that the song's opening lines refer to the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.
But he told Christie's ahead of the auction that the song, which runs for more than eight minutes, refers to the decline of American culture.
"Basically, in 'American Pie' things are heading in the wrong direction," he said. "It is becoming less ideal, less idyllic. I don't know whether you consider that wrong or right, but it is a morality song in a sense."
"I was around in 1970 and now I am around in 2015," he added. "There is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of 'American Pie.'"
The manuscript was purchased by an anonymous bidder.