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Don McLean's 'American Pie' lyrics sell for $1.2 million

The original manuscript of Don McLean's legendary song "American Pie" has been sold for $1.2 million in a New York auction. It fell short of the record $2 million sale of Bob Dylan's lyrics for "Like A Rolling Stone."

Following the auction on Tuesday, McLean, 69, wrote on Twitter he was "overwhelmed by interest and coverage" of the sale.

The 18-page manuscript of one of the most iconic songs of the 20th century was written in 1970-71. According to the auction house Christie's, the lyrics were expected to be sold between $1 and $1.5 million (920,000 - 1.39 million euros). Christie's said the buyer was anonymous.

The price was a fitting tribute to one of the most celebrated songwriters of the previous century, said Tom Lecky, head of the books and manuscripts department at Christie's, in a statement on Tuesday.

Don McLean's Original Manuscript for American Pie Press Preview at Christie's Galleries on April 2. 2015 in New York City

McLean was a struggling songwriter when he penned the lyrics of the song

"The result is a testament to the creative genius of Don McLean and to the song's ability to still engage and inspire," he added.

The mysteriously allegorical lyrics of American Pie, starting with the words "Bye, Bye, American Pie," have remained popular since the song topped the US music charts more than 40 years ago. The lyrics reflect the social and political upheavals in the US in the 1960s and early 1970s.

"The writing and lyrics will divulge everything there is to divulge," McLean said in an interview ahead of the auction.

"It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music," he said in February in the Christie's catalog.

"American Pie" has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was named a "song of the century" by the Recording Industry Association of American and the National Endowment for the Arts.

McLean's other famous songs include "Castles in the Air" and "And I Love You So."

shs/gsw (Reuters, dpa, AFP)