By Carol Cain
Senior Producer and Host
WWJ-TV CBS Detroit “Michigan Matters”
The verdict is in: Grand Rapids is hip!
That according to response to Rob Bliss’ Grand Rapids Lip Dub video of Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
“In just the first few hours, 7,500 people have posted this on their Facebook,” said Rob Bliss, the 22-year-old music student who masterminded the event causing a sensation on YouTube as soon as it was posted Thursday. “This means that this video has been sent out to over two million people in just a few hours. This is a viral video. Exciting stuff!”
Watch the impressive video from Grand Rapids where most of the city was shut down in order to record it. The video has cameos from local celebrities, media personalities, politicians and community members taking turns performing Don McLean’s “American Pie”
Bliss, who has staged other unique events in Grand Rapids like giant pillow fights and huge water slides, came up the idea for the lip sync video after reading Newsweek painted his beloved hometown as a dying city. The magazine also listed Detroit and Flint.
Bliss took exception and wanted to prove them wrong. He convinced city fathers and mothers like former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Pete Secchia, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, and even his own mother, Rosalyn Bliss, city commissioner, to join the cast of over 3,000 who donated time Sunday to film the video in one take.
It took three and a half hours to film and he had folks lining downtown streets lip-syncing to “American Pie.” The 1970s song is about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper.
Bliss chose that song as it was nostalgic and also long at nine minutes to work in scenes of downtown Grand Rapids.