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Don McLean

Famed for -- and ultimately defined by -- his perennial "American Pie," singer/songwriter Don McLean was born October 2, 1945, in New Rochelle, New York. After getting his start in the folk clubs of New York City during the mid-'60s, McLean struggled for a number of years, building a small following through his work with Pete Seeger on the Clearwater, a sloop that sailed up and down the eastern seaboard to promote environmental causes.

Still, McLean was primarily singing in elementary schools and the like when, in 1970, he wrote a musical tribute to painter Vincent Van Gogh; the project was roundly rejected by a number of labels, although MediaArts did offer him a contract to record a number of his other songs under the title Tapestry. The album fared poorly, but Perry Como earned a hit with a cover of the track "And I Love You So," prompting United Artists to pick up McLean's contract. He returned in 1971 with American Pie; the title track, an elegiac eight-and-a-half-minute folk-pop epic inspired by the tragic death of Buddy Holly, became a number one hit, and the LP soon reached the top of the charts as well.

The follow-up, "Vincent," was also a smash, and McLean even became the subject of the Roberta Flack hit "Killing Me Softly with His Song"; however, to his credit -- and to his label's horror -- the singer refused to let the success of "American Pie" straitjacket his career. Subsequent records like 1972's self-titled effort and 1974's Playin' Favorites deliberately avoided any attempts to re-create the "American Pie" flavor; not surprisingly, his sales plummeted, and the latter release even failed to chart. After 1974's Homeless Brother and 1976's Solo, United Artists dropped McLean from his contract; he resurfaced on Arista the next year with Prime Time, but when it, too, fared poorly, he spent the next several years without a label.

McLean enjoyed a renaissance of sorts with 1980's Chain Lightning; his first Top 30 LP in close to a decade, it spawned a Top Ten smash with its cover of Roy Orbison's classic "Crying," and his originals "Castles in the Air" and "Since I Don't Have You" both also reached the Top 40. However, 1981's Believers failed to sustain the comeback, and after 1983's Dominion, he was again left without benefit of label support. McLean spent the remainder of his career primarily on the road, grudgingly restoring "American Pie" to his set list and drawing inspiration from the country market; in addition to a number of live sets and re-recordings of old favorites, he also returned to the studio for projects like 1990's For the Memories (a collection of classic pop, country, and jazz covers) and 1995's River of Love (an LP of original material). ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I LOVE this song!! :)
T, And I Love You So..... t2
Amen best of the best
The day the music died. It already did. Mr. McLean predicted with precision. The new "thing" they call "music" these days is plainly just a bunch of garbage.
Mr. McLean...I have played your music well and often in many critical care unit's, surgical suite' s, and today... trauma center's ...up and down the eastcoast since 1974...my dear you are loved!!!!! Edie R.N.
heyitsmejen2
The 3 men I ADMIRE MOST -
The FATHER - SON and HOLY GHOST
cacplus4
Awesome song!!!!! American pie
I LOVE THIS SONG SO SAD.( THEY WILL NEVER BE FORGET ) .!!!!!!!!! ��
Love this song
WOW! I remember spending a year trying to figure out what all the lyrics meant...but "Helter Shelter" made us all sad. Charlie just got married...Di d the state of California have to pay for it?? Better them than us!!
I love this song and I remember all of the lyrics. memories of elementary school..
This is my wife's favorite childhood song . My best friend forever . I love you babycakes .
shomarilewis 1 2 3
I stinkin love this song, but where are the rest of the lyrics
dowd.j94
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days now you've started reading so don't it's so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days now you've started reading so don't it's so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters.
lavivamickey
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days now you've started reading so don't it's so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters.
18hwilliams1
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days now you've started reading so don't it's so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters.
I listen to Billy Joel and Don't McLean and The Beatles and I'm only 10. Point is I love this song
Coolest thing about the song... The airplane that crashed those stars was named...Amer i c a n Pie. the pilots name was Darrell Peterson, 21 yrs old
CRUISING THE GRAND STRAND AT MYRTLE BEACH WHEN THIS WAS RELEASED!
Semper fi god bless all veterans and all
Most excellent song. One of my






favorite thing favorite favoritfffav o r i t e
I WAS CRUISIN THE GRAND STRAND LISTENING TO THIS!~!!
theladydi3
Listening to Don while drinking a little whiskey. Takes me right back to the best musical era of all time, and the 70's were the end of really great music. Thank you Pandora for giving it to us.
theladydi3
Wish I could have seen him in person. One of my favorites for over 40 yeats. Absolutely love this song and Vincent!
This was a great tribute to the musicians that died in the plane crash. RIP Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper!
Yeah The first time i heard the original one It instantly became a favorite for me
All time fav!!!
What happened to the lyrics for all the song
I love this song as much today as I did in 71'.
This freaked me out. This isn't fake. Apparently, if you copy and paste this on ten comments in ten minutes, you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either be kissed or asked out. If you break this chain, you will see a little girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry.
2BDancing in the rain - in Empty Chairs. I never thought you'd go, until you did. Empty heart....
jemclean1968 2
High School... drinkin' with good friends and singin' "Bye, bye Miss American Pie!" Warm memories... :)
gabesenior9
The first time I heard this song I was driving my 1968 VW Beetle to work. Great memories of times gone by... very happy times!!!
The best song ever
splee57
Whenever I hear this song, it reminds me when I was about 7 years old and my mom would drive me from the Bronx to Manhattan on the FDR Drive - Eastside Highway to my modelling assignments. It was fun being pulled out of school to go to work in front of the camera with other children posing for magazines, the Daily News, Alexander's. Good memories!!
LOVE this song, such a feel good tune.
http://under s t a n d i n g a m e r i c a n p i e . c o m /
understandin g a m e r i c a n p i e . o r g
MÚSICA!
American Pie is one great classic!
2BDancingint h e r a i n - and I love you so......
my first song i paid for....Ameri c a n pie
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop . This is so scary put this on at least 5songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
bsmithu2fan
American Pie means a lot to me. I'm an Iowan and Buddy Holley's Plane crashed on my great uncle's farm (Albert Juhl). I always take the time to listen to this whole song every time I hear it. Hope he feels differently about the hit now.
Better than Rory version
PIE!!!!!❗️❗️ ❕ >3
ujustgotsuli f i e d , so is We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, By Queen, Eye Of The Tiger By Survivor, And Down On The Corner By Creedence Clearwater revival.
austin.sauce d a 1
The good era of music (:
The Song That's Over Played Is Hotel California By The Eagles That Song Is WAY OVER PLAYED.
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