Fremont Street Experience premieres “Don McLean’s American Pie” Viva Vision light and sound show with a weekend-long 4th of July celebration free to the public, 4 p.m.-midnight July 3-5 in downtown Las Vegas.

The world premiere showing of “Don McLean’s American Pie” Viva Vision show will open to the public on Thursday, July 3 at 9 p.m., including an opening ceremony hosted by Nellis Air Force Base’s Honor Guard and a live performance of the National Anthem.

The rock ballad “American Pie”, released by Don McLean in 1971, became the anthem for a generation and is still one of the most well-known songs in American musical history. McLean’s most famous composition, “American Pie” is a sprawling, impressionistic ballad inspired partly by the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) in a plane crash in 1959. The song would popularize the expression “The Day the Music Died” in reference to this event. McLean has stated that the lyrics are also somewhat autobiographical and present an abstract story of his life from the mid-1950s until the time he wrote the song in the late 1960s.

“American Pie” reached number one on the US Billboard magazine charts for four weeks in 1971, and remains McLean’s most successful single release. It is also the longest song to reach #1 with a running time of 8:36. McLean worked with Fremont Street Experience, providing footage and images for the Viva Vision show.

The Viva Vision schedule for all three nights include shows “American Freedom” at 8:30 and 12 midnight, “Don McLean’s American Pie” at 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. and “A Tribute to Queen” at 10:00 p.m. “A Tribute to Queen” is also a new Viva Vision light and sound show that premiered in April.