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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Best Of Don McLean

1. American Pie

2. Vincent

3. And I Love You So

4. Crying

5. Castles In The Air (1970)

6. Driedel

7. Winterwood

8. Every Day

9. Mountains O'Mourne

10. Prime Time

x

Track List: Chain Lightning

1. Words And Music

2. Crying

3. It's Just The Sun

5. Chain Lightning

9. Since I Don't Have You

11. It's A Beautiful Life

12. If You Could Read My Mind

x

Track List: American Pie

1. American Pie

2. Till Tomorrow

3. Vincent

4. Crossroads

5. Winterwood

6. Empty Chairs

7. Evereybody Loves Me Baby

8. Sister Fatima

9. The Grave

10. Babylon

x

Track List: Tapestry

1. Castles In The Air

2. General Store

3. Magdalene Lane

4. Tapestry

5. Respectable

6. Orphans Of Wealth

7. Three Flights Up

8. And I Love You So

9. Bad Girl

10. Circus Song

11. No Reason For Your Dreams

x

Track List: Addicted To Black

1. Addicted To Black

2. Run, Diana Run

3. Beside Myself

4. Mary Lost A Ring

5. Lovers Love The Spring

6. Promise To Remember

7. The Three Of Us

8. Shadowland

9. I Was Always Young

10. This Is America (Eisenhower)

11. In A Museum

x

Track List: American Pie - The Very Best Of Don McLean

1. American Pie

2. Vincent

3. And I Love You So

4. Crying

5. Since I Don't Have You

6. Castles In The Air

7. It's Just The Sun

8. Jerusalem

9. It's A Beautiful Life

10. Headroom

11. 1967

12. Infinity

13. One In A Row

14. Lady In Waiting

15. Have You Seen Me

17. A Brand New World

Comments

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vegasvillian
Good memories when hearing this
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On the Amazon… One of my favorites!!
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now this is music!! peace,love n hippie beads ♡♡
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Yep @ cheergirlie. . .
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Brandonlorig o f f i n love this song I live in Missoula Montana
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Can never go wrong with the good old rock and roll.
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great drinking song :)
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Classic always
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Great song to remember the Great Buddy Holly!
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So sorry rmh0508026 good song
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Reminds me when my girlfriend died in a car accident
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jkreoger
i love this song catchy and good lyrics
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is a good song.
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one of the best, just love this song.
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My Best Friend Loves this this song
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DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. NOW YOUVE STARTED READING THIS DONT STOP THIS IS SO FREAKY. But if you read this and ignore it then you will have very bad luck. PUT THIS ON 15 SONGS IN 143 MINS. WHEN YOU ARE DONE PRESS THE SPACEBAR AND YOUR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN THIS IS SO FREAKY IT ACTUALLY WORKS
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dylanblackmo n 2 0
best tear ever shed
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He did what he wanted to do. Epic
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Great song one of my favorites
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This song is great!!!
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Salvadoran civil war is the reason why I'm alive here today @navasnelson 7 6
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��
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f**k outta here.
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Loved the song American Pie--my twin brother hated it!!!!!!!
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isabella.fer e t
Vincent, another song that has been ruined for me by supernatural . Why do I even watch that show...
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jbent14
Great song
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tweetdrms200 3
Awesome song I grew up with songs like this and classic rock
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Great song sad plane crash
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Does anyone live in montana
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Favorite song ever
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This song is LIFEE! ������ but it is so sad ����������
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hlore58
The lyrics of this song sold for a fortune!
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jim.meriden
aww cumon people...aft e r all these years and you still don't know the lyrics?....G O O G L E is a wonderful thing
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Lyrics lyrics seriously I'm 11 and kiwi and I think there lyrics for all songs especially classics and really good songs eg won't back down yeah lyrics please pandora pretty please with a cherry on top come on that would be great really then you might be best radio station sharer ever please from the 11year old kiwi kid

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John prim
John e
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Good memories
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Biiiiiiii Bye miss American pie!!!
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I. o
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The song American Pie encapsulated the shock, disbelief and mourning of the worlds musical enthusiasts. So much lost in the blink of an eye. Pleeeease Pandora, include the lyrics (and maybe some of Don's seldom heard verses?). It's such a defining song of Americana! If not for its beautiful poetry, then at least for posterity and the next generation of potential music fans. Shalom
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I was young but I remember the crash being on the news. Terrible loss, just imagine what went with them.
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susannepic
Always makes me think of my dad. He loved this song, and therefore so do I.
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I was a young teen when I heard this song. . Know it by heart. Always in my playlist.
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Common Pandora, no lyrics for American Pie? Let's have a little pride in our American heritage because this song was a defining song in "American" folk and R&R. Shalom
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One of my favorites, & I think I can speak for the lot of us. PEACE
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1950 f1 1976 swinging ropes at who's run made mistake a Vietnam vet pulled me from drowning left like lassie whoever it was thank you sir when I came too America pie was playing and my sister Nancy said welcome back yohan
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Heavy on mems
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this song makes me cry
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Every time I hear this song it puts me in a good spirits love this song
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Every time I hear it, it sounds better than ever. Like the good old days!
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