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Years ago, I heard this phrase (I don't know if it really is a phrase, please correct me if I'm wrong) during a congress from the general manager of a major car production company, but I don't remember the context. What is the meaning and etymology of it?

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closed as off topic by Mitch, ghoppe, Daniel, FumbleFingers, simchona Oct 17 '11 at 1:03

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It is a line from the song American pie by Don McLean. It is -- I believe -- a song about the death of John Lennon. –  TLP Oct 16 '11 at 20:50
    
And a little more, I believe. –  Barrie England Oct 16 '11 at 20:55
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song lyrics are off-topic. –  Mitch Oct 16 '11 at 21:18
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@TLP It's a song about the plane crash in which Buddy Holly ("Peggy Sue","That'll Be The Day", etc.), Ritchie Valens ("La Bamba"), and the Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace") died. –  Phoenix Oct 16 '11 at 21:19
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@iterationx: But that link specifically doesn't explain Drove my chevy to the levee. Except to say maybe it's just rhyme, which is common enough in lyrics. Anyway, EL&U is hardly the place to decode this particular song, I think. –  FumbleFingers Oct 17 '11 at 0:08

1 Answer 1

The line occurs in Don McLean's song American Pie. Chevy is a Chevrolet motor car and a levy (usually spelled levee) is a pier or quay. It was dry because there was no water where there should have been. Those more steeped than I in American culture can perhaps tell us the metaphorical meaning.

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The metaphorical meaning probably is no more than levee rhyming with Chevy. I think that in most of the U.S. 'levee' connotes a miles-long embankment instead of a landing. Teenagers will drive along on top the levee, or park on top of it and look out across the water at night. –  jwpat7 Oct 16 '11 at 21:12
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Don McLean was known to be mysterious with his lyrics... He wouldn't openly disclose what any of American Pie meant. And the parts of the song that people have figured out are incredibly esoteric and specific to the sign of the times that he wrote it. –  Rikon Oct 16 '11 at 21:58
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@Rikon That agrees with info at iterationx's link, straightdope.com/columns/read/908/…, which also comments (re "three men I admire most..." section): "it simply rhymes, a big determinant of plot direction in pop music lyrics (which may also explain "drove my Chevy to the levee")". –  jwpat7 Oct 16 '11 at 23:20

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