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Ryan Braun

WRIT 2A
11-17-15
The Day the Music Died
As the sun began its journey westward over the dust bowl of Altamont Motor Speedway,
its orange glow radiated over the glistening white tents of over 300,000 eager fans ready for the
Woodstocks Music Festival of 1969. The wind slowly began to escalate, kicking up clouds of
dirt and forming tornados that pranced across the valley, seamlessly weaving their way across the
veranda. From inside one of the tents, a radio begins to crackle and clicks on. Muffled from
under a pile of dirty clothes thrown effortlessly into the corner, Ringo Starrs soothing noise
begins to sing Yellow Submarine, causing a disgruntled man to unravel from a sleeping bag on
the floor. Dash Rodgers is a firefighter in his late twenties, with big blue eyes, sandy blonde
hair, perfectly sculpted abs and a smile that will give Ricky Martin a run for his money. Dash lets
out a long yawn and slowly throws on a pair of thrashed denim jeans and a black Bob Dylan
hoody. A loud clattering of pots and pans from outside the tent draws Dashs attention causing
him to take a few steps outside the tent where he is immediately enveloped in bright sunlight,
blinding him temporarily. As Dash begins to regain his vision, he notices a lady fixing the pots
while a group of Hells Angels motorcyclists walk by, violently spitting tobacco and arguing over
their motorcycles. The Hells Angels cyclists were running security on the concert, arousing the
concern of the public due to the gangs long list of violence. A shadow hangs over the main stage
as Dash begins to notice a group of people setting up equipment for the afternoon events. The
music of The Beatles had added a simple innocence to music, much like the happier optimism
present in his past. The little uncertainties in life had lost their relevance, as Americans had
finally learned to be optimistic and enjoy life. Miss American Pie was finally living the American
Dream, as the wealth was distributed evenly and the world was at peace. Dash slowly became

nostalgic of his childhood, remembering little tidbits of his past from his old emerald 1950
Chevrolet to his high school crush Allie. At his very first dance, Dash had desperately tried to
court Allie by giving her a beautiful pink carnation, but was embarrassed and turned down. After
endless attempts, the pickup truck and pink carnation had lost their appeal, leaving Dash
disappointed and defeated. Lennons departure only contributed to the catastrophe, essentially
forcing Dash from his adolescent innocence. Clearly shaken by the events of his past, Dash
decides to take a walk around the speedway.

The sun continues to rise as the wind begins to pick up, howling at the invading
concertgoers as they first begin roll out of bed. From the same ragged white tent, a second man
emerges from under the mound of blankets, moaning at the presence of the sun. The man sits up
in bed and violently begins to scratch his neck as if it were getting attacked by a mosquito. The
figures frame becomes much more distinct as the camera gets its first glimpse of the second
man. The man is much skinnier than Dash, with pale, irritated skin and greasy black hair pulled
back with a maroon rag over his ponytail. The man wore khaki cargo shorts with black beads
around both his left wrist and neck. He was sweating profusely and desperately rummaging
through his belongings in search of something to cure his current state. (In order to add a little bit
of comedy, the man will pull out a ton of different drugs before actually finding his desired
cocaine.) From the side packet of his backpack, the man pulls a small plastic bag filled with little
white rocks labeled COCAINE. The man walked out of the tent to see a smooth rolling stone
covered in moss, perfect to snort his line on. He sniffled a few times to ensure the little white
rocks had entered the bloodstream and served their purpose before sealing the plastic bag,

violently throwing it to the ground and kicking dirt over the empty bag of drugs. Dashs little
brother JJ, was the complete opposite of his brother, falling susceptible to drugs at an early age
and accepting the new rebellious counter culture. JJ was forced to live in the shadow of his
handsome brother, accepting the musical and cultural revolution. JJ was the perfect stereotypical
Rolling Stones fan opposed to Dash who embodied the qualities of a Beatles fan.
*

Within the same campground, the main attraction for the night, The Rolling Stones, were
busy preparing for the night ahead. For years, The Rolling Stones had finally accepted the role of
troublemaker in music, using their provocative ideas and constant cynicism to catalyze a counter
cultural shift in both the world and music. Innocence and optimism was considered ideology of
the past, as new waves of rebellion and controversy gained support. Mick Jagger and the Rolling
Stones took the stage as the leader of the countercultural revolution, promoting a frenzy of drugs,
alcohol and violence. The Beatles on the other hand, were the much more down to earth band,
encouraging a much mellower audience like the vibes of the 1950s as opposed to the escalating
counter culture like the Rolling Stones. The Beatles are set to play tonight, opening for the
Stones to wrap up the concert.

The camera first will pan out and show the four primary members of The Rolling Stones;
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Brian Jones. Jagger is smoking a cigar while the
four huddle around a table with blueprints drawn out. It is obvious right away that Jagger is
heated and upset over something. Jagger wears a button down white shirt, unbuttoned about
halfway, with tight jeans and black leather shoes. The other three are obviously just out of bed
and less lively than Jagger, still in their pajamas and drinking a fresh cup of coffee.

For years we have played second fiddle to The Beatles. They have drawn in the younger crowd
and instilled an unwanted peacefulness surrounding rock n roll. Finally, the time has come so
that The Beatles no longer can influence the culture of music Mick started. With help from the
Hells Angels motorcyclists, we should be able to inciting a riot, resulting in multiple deaths and
the assassination of the Beatles.
So here is the plan. We will allow the Beatles to play their entire set list, for it will be
their last. The backstage crew will turn off the lights to spark a sense of confusion on the crowd
during their closing song. We will have our guns disguised into our instruments, so the second
the lights are off, pull them out from where we will be standing backstage and annihilate the
ruthless scum. The Hells Angels cyclists will close off all exits so that each fan is accounted for.
The motorcyclists will fire their rifles into the air to spark a sense of confusion and paranoia over
the crowd. The cyclists were given strict orders to allow all weapons into the festival so that a
riot serves the perfect countercultural purpose. You each were given a quadrant to watch over
after the fans are tamed. Remember to push the social envelope and completely encourage any
form of rebellion. It is time for the end of an optimistic era and the start to chaos and violence.
Hey Boss, have you ever killed anybody? Keith Richards interjected.
Nope, today is my lucky day Jagger replied.
*

That night, The Stones were illuminated more by the lights on stage than by the moon
itself, as the fans glowed, jumping in unison to the music. As The Beatles progressed through
there set for the night, the crowd continued to cheer on the likable Beatles, infuriating Jagger as
he waited for his vengeance. Finally, the band began their final song as the Stones mentally
prepared themselves for the debacle about to unfold. The music cut off abruptly, as the band

members quickly swapped their instruments for weapons to annihilate Lennon ad his band
members. However, the crew running the lights failed to cut the fuse, and in the chaos,
illuminated the stage even brighter so the guns were blatantly obvious in The Rolling Stones
hands. Immediately the crowd was thrown into a state of shock, as the band was no longer
playing music but pointing glistening firearms right at the crowd favorite Beatles. The band
members began to panic and looked at Mick for guidance. However, Mick was stupidly
attempting to fire the gun at John Lennon while it was on safety. The Beatles were given a queue
from the crowd that a series of events were unfolding backstage behind them and had turned
around to see the source of confusion. Lennon noticed that Jagger was embarrassing himself,
struggling with his firearm, so he hollered over at Jagger, Hey! The safety is on idiot. Mick,
initially embarrassed, finally, figures out how to work the gun, and fires an entire magazine into
Lennon and his crewmembers with the assistance of his own band. The crowd is immediately in
distress, dispersing in millions of different directions as Mick commands his band members to
their different quadrant where they are directed to await further instruction Meanwhile, the Hells
Angels cyclists were perfectly creating paranoia by firing into the air, while gunshots were heard
from inside the crowd. Jagger walked forward towards the stage where the four bodies of the
beloved Beatles lay limp, as crimson blood leaked from the bodies. Jagger could not help but
release a devilish grin as his devious plan to overthrow the powerhouse of rock n roll was being
perfectly executed.
*

Mick and his band had successfully rounded up all of the distressed fans and were in the
process of separating them according to musical genre preference. In the chaos and confusion,
Dash and JJ were separated, forcing them into separate quadrants. JJ was nearing the front of

Mick Jaggers line where he had already decapitated many Beatle followers. As JJ awaited his
conviction, he was more intrigued to meet the abruptly villainous Mick Jagger.
Beatles or Stones? Jagger asked JJ.
Stones obviously.
Drugs or no drugs?
Drugs
I like you kid.
Thanks Mr. Jagger but why are you killing all these people?
For too long the conservative Beatles have ran the rock n roll world, but now its time to start a
rebellion. It is time for us to show that not only are we troublemakers, but we promote chaos and
violence.
Can I join you sir?
Why of course kid, Im just going to need an autograph from your parent or guardian.
Well, my brother Dash is a Beatles fan and we got separated when you started shooting.
Dont worry about it kid, Ill track him down. Jagger gave JJ an evil, conniving grin as if he
had a plan.
Jagger makes a few phone calls and finds Dash with Charlie Watts. Jagger demands to speak
with Dash regarding JJ.
Mr. Jagger?
Yes, is this Dash?
Speaking.

Hi Dash, Im calling in regards to your little brother. I think he is a perfect candidate to apply to
my team. Your brother would be a great addition to our team because of his innate ability to
provoke a rebellion and do drugs with us. All I need is your permission.
No. Dash coldly replied.
No?
No. Dash reiterated. You are the reason why music is dead. You killed The Beatles. You
ruined music. The Rolling Stones have singlehandedly ruined rock n roll because of their
provocative performances and rebellious encouragement. My brother will never work for you.
Fair enough. Have it your way. I am on my way to speak with you in person now. You may
hang up the phone now.
No you hang up first.
No you go first.
No you
Okay.
Oh my god I can not believe he just hung up on me!
*

It had taken Mick and JJ about ten minutes to trek across the Speedway to where they
were holding Dash. Mick wanted to kill Dash for both his defiance and his love for the Beatles,
but he needed him to sign the parent waver in order for JJ to join the team. Over the course of
those ten minutes, Mick had decided he would have JJ kill his brother in order to prove his
loyalty. Mick and Dash bickered back and forth, until Mick was absolutely furious. Mick
preceded to force Dash to his knees and shoved the end of his pistol right to Dashs skull. Dash
could feel the ice cold metal piercing his skin, as a cold bead of sweat fell into his eye. Suddenly

out of nowhere, a military helicopter flew over head, once again confusing the crowd and giving
Dash a perfect diversion. Dash quickly ran into the crowd while Mick was extremely
preoccupied by the sudden change of events. The scene zooms out with the helicopter spotlight
shining directly on Mick.

The Rolling Stones were arrested and imprisoned for their crimes, leading way to the
bands of the 1970s. In the closing scene, the Beatles will hold a big funeral in which Dash
attends and speaks at. Dash explained his childhood love for the Beatles optimistic music. He
also shed light on his hatred for the wretched Rolling Stones. Eventually Dash wraps up with his
speech explaining that, that night on the Altamont Speedway in 1969 was the day that music
died.
Metacognitive Reflection:
Being able to effectively integrate information from the primary text into the new genre,
requires a deep understanding of the genre conventions I am working with. Some elements do
not transfer from genre to genre and may need to be left out in order to concisely convey the
idea. I will tackle each verse of the original song in order to effectively point out what was and
was not included.
The song itself opens with a nostalgic phase, where the writer remembers the music and
culture of his past. This type of music was much more effective in evoking a happier side of a
listeners emotions. The nostalgic element adds a little bit of pathos to this genre and is also
evident in my piece. Dash has a flashback in which he remembers his old Chevy and his
adolescent crush Allie.

The constant theme strung throughout the majority of the song is the day the music
died, so essentially I was looking for a turning point in American music. The 1960s revealed
the progression of rock n roll, but after the disintegration of the Beatles, culture shifted entirely
too. Optimism and the American Dream had lost their appeal, as rebellious, provocative ideas
gained support. I attempt to keep this idea in my writing by implementing it in Dashs nostalgic
phase, but can also be utilized as motivation for the conniving Mick Jagger. In Dashs flashback I
make reference to Miss American Pie and the American Dream in the 1950s like the first verse
of the song.
The chorus of the song discusses an old 1950 Chevrolet that used to work
perfectly, but is overused and out of date. Don McLean then sheds light on his past love life, both
of which are mentioned in Dashs memory. The pickup truck, school dance and pickup truck are
all tools to court an unnamed lady who ultimately spurns him. McLean emphasizes over and over
again the Golden Age of the 1950s and just how perfect it was. Wealth was distributed better and
the quality of living significantly improved, causing an America to be temporarily happy. I tried
to reveal the happiness of the 1950s in Dashs flashback. In the third verse, McLean mentions
moss on a rolling stone, using an old clich to describe someone who is true to their roots. It has
become common for people to reject conventional values at this point, and very rarely would you
see a young adult who accepted them. The rolling stone is pictured in my piece when JJ walks
out of the tent. Obviously JJ is the more rebellious of the Rodger brothers, reflecting why he
would use the mossy rolling stone because of his constant rejection of conventional values.
The United States culture was becoming more revolutionary and it desperately
needed a scapegoat for change. Although both Bob Dylan and the Beatles contributed to the
Counterculture movement, the Rolling Stones completely changed culture around the world. The

fourth verse was the first place I decided to leave a theme or idea out because of its irrelevance in
the new genre. McLean was clever in metaphorically using a football field as the battle field for
cultural change, but the metaphor itself failed to contribute to the ideology of the song. In the
fifth verse, Mick Jagger emerges as the antichrist of the situation; the instigator of change.
McLean does a really good job as showing Jagger as an antagonist. For my revision, I need to
focus on some of the imagery surrounding the characters and the setting so that the piece appears
somewhat scary. I elected to make the Altamont Speedway, sometimes considered the start of the
demise of the Stones, as my setting. The sixth and final verse serves as a wistful resignation, as
optimism is replaced by rebellion. The conclusion translates to the idea that the mellow
conformity of the past will never return and the cynicism of the future is upon us.
Genre translation challenges an author to analyze the conventions and decipher
the arguments being made, so that the same idea is presented in a different matter. Some of the
emotions, suspense and ideas are lost in genre translation, forcing the new writer to develop
his/her own ideas on the writing. The reader needs to get an accurate gage on the message the
author is attempting to convey and the resources he/she utilizes. Obviously the harmony and
flow of the song were lost, but I was also able to add a little bit of humor to the piece. Suspense
was an extremely difficult element to pull from a song and is almost a necessity that needs
improvement at my desperate attempt to write horror. I used very similar terminology in my
paper to the poem so that it is easy to see the transition from piece to piece.
In a horror film, the producer will use lighting to signal hope or despair. In the
opening scene, Dash walked out and saw a shadow cast over the stage, foreshadowing the
massacre. Then again when the Rolling Stones try to darken stage for the massacre (which would
have been a sign of despair), but because this is a horror comedy, something had to go wrong. In

horror you lose the more passionate, emotion driven vibes from a song, and shift to emotions like
fear and horror. However, the comedy aspect flips fear with laughter, making it a hybrid genre.
Some people are intrigued by horror comedies, making them the audience. Indie/ Folk is defined
as, acoustic instruments and songs of substance for folk; and Rock ' n' roll as vulgar and
commercial1 Although American Pie sticks more to the folk side of folk rock, there are elements
of rock n roll involved. McLean is beginning to notice a rift in the political culture throughout
America and utilizes a folk rock genre to do so.
This whole paper is centered around the idea that the United States experienced a massive
cultural shift from the 1950s to the 1960s, sending it from the optimistic 1950s to the
rebellious 1960s. Essentially, the 1960s served as an antithesis to the previous decade, filled
with dark countercultural ideas and civil rights controversy. Not only was the change present
from a cultural sense, but the musical world was shocked by the emergence of British artists The
Rolling Stones and The Beatles. As the decade progressed, each band adapted into their separate
personas, with The Beatles remaining conservative while The Rolling Stones decided to be more
provocative. The exuberant simplicity of the 1950s began to fade away, paving way to the more
radical late sixties. The middle of decade was strictly ideological after the decline of Bob Dylan
and the rise of the Beatles, as the end of the decade was a dominant takeover from the anarchic
Rolling Stones.
The Beatles were the more conservative of the rock n roll legends of the 1960s,
allowing their sweet, harmonic music to provoke feelings of joy and ecstasy. The Beatles
constantly refrained from the provocative ideas of culture, utilizing their music to radiate a sense
of peace rather than rebellion. In this piece of writing, the Beatles serve as the perfect good guys
because of their mellow music and personality, making them very likable to the discourse
1 http://www.richieunterberger.com/turnover.html

community. It allowed me, as the writer, to manipulate their personalities into a more gullible
figure, contributing to the comedy of the horror spoof.
Due to their more provocative, rowdy personality, The Rolling Stones were immediately
coined as the bad boys during their ascent to stardom in the late 1960s, promoting a sense of
counterculture and shift in music. It was blatantly obvious that the Rolling Stones adapted into
the troublemaker stereotype, allowing the Beatles to have the lovable image. The Stones allowed
their excessive amounts of money to get the best of them, as the members of the band constantly
abused drugs. The Rolling Stones became the perfect scapegoat for the countercultural
movement of the 1960s, as their music ignited a universal sense of rebellion. The Stones become
the perfect culprit and antagonist for this story.
The perfect setting for this piece happened to be the Woodstocks music festival at
Altamont Speedway. This instance is marked as the decline of counterculture and rock music of
the late 1960s mainly because of the Rolling Stones performance. The crowd was described as
absolute chaos throughout the concert as a young African American woman was stabbed to
death. Mick Jagger was instigating fights and inciting riots within the crowd, making him the
antagonist of the entire situation.
The timing for the entire piece lined up perfectly, as the Beatles descent lead to the Rolling
Stones rise. In 1969, John Lennon left The Beatles, opening the door for the Rolling Stones to
finally conquer the rock n roll world after a decade. The serenity of the 1950s and early 1960s
had quickly evaporated, as the constant happiness was replaced with rebellion and drugs.
Throughout the course of writing in the horror comedy genre, I am worried about two
things; the start and the finish. It is extremely difficult to draw in a reader after the first few
sentences, so the beginning has to be intriguing so that the reader is eager to read more. I was

really stressed throughout on how to implement both comedy and horror into something so
unrelated. The finish also must wrap the story up and have a clear, concise argument or finish. I
struggled for so long on an applicable finish that was also comical. When looking over my work,
I flipped back to How To Read Like a Writer by Mike Bunn in order to figure out how to omit
certain sentences and ideology to concisely build a strong argument. From this, I learned and
analyzed each element to American Pie, from the jargon to the melody, understanding exactly
what McLean implied in stating the day the music died. Mcloud wrote an intriguing piece
titled, Writing With Pictures which contributed to my understanding of the essential elements
to writing a story. He mentioned the importance of developing a strategy so that the words
effortlessly flow across the page and the idea comes across in a clear and concise manner.
Overall, both of these writings provided significant insight regarding the endless amounts of
writing styles and conventions.
Bibliography:
"Codes and Conventions of Comedy Horror." Bradwestwoodasmediafoundationportfolio.
December 5, 2011. Accessed November 17, 2015.
https://bradwestwoodasmediafoundationportfolio.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/codes-andconventions-of-comedy-horror/.
"How'd the Rolling Stones Get Started?" About.com Education. Accessed November 17, 2015.
http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/a/Rolling-Stones.htm.
"So You Want to Make a Horror Film? On Jump Scares and Other Basics of Fright | Filmmaker
Magazine." Filmmaker Magazine So You Want to Make a Horror Film On Jump Scares and
Other Basics of Fright Comments. Accessed November 17, 2015.
http://filmmakermagazine.com/76622-so-you-want-to-make-a-horror-film-on-jump-scares-andother-basics-of-fright/#.Vkr7DM4-CCQ.
"The Altamont Festival Brings the 1960s to a Violent End." History.com. Accessed November
17, 2015. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-altamont-festival-brings-the-1960s-toa-violent-end.
"1960s Folk-Rock Overview." 1960s Folk-Rock Overview. Accessed November 17, 2015.
http://www.richieunterberger.com/turnover.html.