Don McLean
Don McLeanGetty

The original manuscript for Don McLean's 1979 hit American Pie is expected to sell for a staggering $1.5m (£1m) after going on auction.

A lucky fan of the singer-songwriter will be able to get their hands on a piece of history when 16 pages of lyrics go under the hammer at New York's Christie's on 7 April.

The hand-written lyrics created between 1970 and 1971, show McLean's corrections and changes to the iconic song even before he recorded it. It also contains unused verse and an alternative ending, to the iconic song Madonna covered the song in 2000.

"What you have in the manuscript is how we got to that stage. It's the creative process from beginning to end," said Tom Lecky, Christies' head of books and manuscripts.

"You see great moments of inspiration, you see him attempting things that then didn't work out. The direction that he was going in that he then didn't want to follow. And so these words that we all know so well and are fixed weren't fixed in the beginning."

"He's coming up to his 70th year and he feels like he has had this incredible journey with this song. And it's been something of great fortune to written such a masterpiece and it felt right to share this process of writing a manuscript like this with the world," said Lecky.

After years of speculation about the song, McLean revealed that it was about "things are heading in the wrong direction" during the 1960's and 1970's. "It is becoming less idyllic. I don't know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense," he explained in a rare interview for Christies Catalogue.

The "Bye, bye Miss American Pie" beginning of the eight-minute track was inspired by the death of singer Buddy Holly, who died in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson in 1959.

McLean's American Pie has a long way to go if it wants to surpass Bob Dylan's record for a handwritten manuscript. The rocker's lyrics for Like A Rolling Stone sold for just over $2m (£1.34m) at auction in 2014.