The Grand Rapids Lipdub Video

by jdroth on 2 June 2011

In a January article at the Newsweek magazine website, Seth Fiegerman named Grand Rapids, Michigan one of America’s “dying cities”. The folks in Grand Rapids weren’t amused. On May 22nd, 5000 awesome people in that town came together to film a monster lipdub set to Don Maclean‘s “American Pie”. This amazing video — which Robert Ebert declared “the greatest music video ever made” — features marching bands, fire trucks, motorcades, weddings, helicopter flights, and a bridge on fire.

This people of Grand Rapids are awesome:

Rob Bliss, who acted as director and executive producer, explained the impetus for the project:

This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a “dying city.” We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope.

This isn’t the first lipdub video to go viral on the internet; it’s just the one with the largest scope. Here are some other lipdub videos from years gone by:

As you can imagine, a stunt with the size and scope of the Grand Rapids lipdub video doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, hard work, and practice. Though the final video is one continuous shot, it took several attempts to get that one shot. Things went wrong in each take. The final video is the best of of the bunch.

If you’d like to learn more about the Grand Rapids lipdub video, here’s a four-minute behind the scenes clip that shows how it was made.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peggy June 4, 2011 at 21:24

Awesome! Way to go, Grand Rapids!


2 Jeff June 7, 2011 at 19:10

That was quite simply amazing! I’m moving to Grand Rapids!!!


3 Tess The Bold Life June 10, 2011 at 13:29

Hi JD,
You made me cry with this video. I grew up in MI and lived, worked and raised my four daughters there with Hubs. We moved to AZ 3 years ago.

Two daughters and 3 grandchildren still live there. We travel all of the time and could go anywhere in the US free because our daughter is a flight attendant. Guess where we go the most? We return to MI because our life long friends and family are there.

It is an awesome place…and I’m going to do a post on it. You’ve inspired me.


4 Marshall June 30, 2011 at 14:22

Love it. The power of music. and the hearts of the people. Incredible!!



5 Stan July 26, 2011 at 20:02

Amazing what the citizens can do once the put their minds to it. I was touched but the young and old and everyone inbetween getting together to celebrate their city.


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