Why Don McLean's Run Diana Run Is An Underrated Sinister Song
The song about a frantic female named Diana that has been in a dire situation.
I’ve only ever known Don McLean just like a lot of other listeners just know him for his iconic song, American pie. I happen to be going through the rest of his Rearview Mirror album, and I saw very interestingly titled song called "Run Diana Run".
I decided to play the sample on iTunes to see what it would sound like and I couldn’t get it out of my head for months. I decided to give it the listen to see the rest of what this story was to the song as to what led Diana to be on the run. It is another one of those happy sounding, and invigorating songs that actually has a dark undertone when you analyze the lyrics.
The basis of the song is centered on a woman named Diana who made some questionable decisions that led to her being the focus of media attention. Then her life makes a change that leads from a life of lush and luxury to a life on the lamb, trying to escape these people that are after her.
It does entice the questions to the story of this song. Why is Diana on the run? What did she do? Did she witness something violent? What was she involved in? Is the mafia after her? What kind of content was she involved in for the media to be famous? Why is Diana being stalked relentlessly by various people in the media?
This is another one of the songs that keeps the intrigue with a story to hear. It's very similar to the reality of the raw news in Dirty Laundry by Don Henley, or the story of the rise of fame and downfall of fame in Don’t You Want Me by The Human League.
The happy sounding song with a sinister nature does work in the tune it was played in. There's this casual feel to a what is really a chaotic song by normalizing the insanity that Diana is going through. It truly is a great song that has a dark humor touch to it.
In the main frames of this song with a guitar strumming and how fast the music is going I almost visualize Diana running. It's invigorating to listen to the beat and entertaining to the presented story about this damsel in danger.
The reasons why I think it’s a dark song is three possible reasons.
Diana Was in Porn
Diana is described as being dressed in silks and silver and posed in front of a cameras that really loved her. The fascination with Diana is how famous she is and how she go there. Her pretty face had to be in film to be well-known and prominent in the public eye. It does make the thought to wonder if she posed for Playboy, or if she was in a couple of pornographic movies. Maybe she got out of the limelight life, and now the former fans won’t quit hounding her about this part of her life.
When you hear the lyric, "The camera shot her everyday", it poses the question of how she was presented to be captured over and over on film and photo, and now it's leading to an actual capture.
The frame of lyrics come to mind with-
They like to feed on fantasy
Like lions feed on meat
Which is the true commentary of the infatuation with various actresses or famous people in general.
Did Diana have a life similar in choice to Bettie Page? Did she start out with a career in film that took a turn to another limelight of the world of cinema by becoming a sexual fantasy for others?
Diana Witnessed a Murder
Besides the desire that some of these spectators had for Diana, could it be that the mission for her capture isn't because of her looks but because of something she witnessed?
Why else would a young woman be on the run for her life, and why the lyric goes- "Think they're getting near her"- throughout the song to show the intensity to Diana's dire situation.
Diana Is Being Stalked
Diana had her praise in the limelight, she was loved and lusted after from leering eyes. But could there be someone (or some people) that just couldn't be satisfied from seeing her on the screen and had to take her for themselves? That could possibly be the darkest reason to what has happened to Diana's life to be sought after from the fans that want her.
Hearing the frame-
Man, they swarm around like locusts
Just to get a better shot
She's such a public figure
I'll bet they just can't get enough
This is a spot on lyrical version of the commentary for the obsession people will have with whoever is the object of their fascination.
The Fate of Diana
Throughout the song, we never do hear what happened to Diana in the end, if she escaped these people that were on her trail. It could be that she song is being sung in the past verse, and Diana has already been captured and we have just been hearing what led up to her entrapment. As dark as the song is, the idea that Diana is actually dead could be a possibility. The last idea to debate for Diana's fate is that she's still on the run. She'll continue to be running the rest of her life to escape the people that want to have her or harm her. All that we can hope for Diana is that she's fast enough to keep out of the reach from these sketchy snatchers.