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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

This song has a great meaning if you can truly interpret what he is saying. We need more artist like don now adays because every one is revolved around sex and drugs I wish I was old enough to have actually seen him live
American pie was a song that my friends & I fell n love with. It had such a deep meaning to us, as if it reached I side & touched our soul. We were maybe 12 yr. Old at the time. Now @ 55 yr. Of age., I have to honestly say....it still manages to touch me the same way. So yes my music library has truly GROWN, more than I ever knew possible. Yet AMERICAN PIE, will always bring back that special memory.
This song was my dads favorite .. I remember him listening to it in El Salvador before he came to the USA to arrange for me,my sis and Mom to live.. Thank You Mr.McLean.. RIP DAD.. And thank you
Don McLean and American Pie...amazin g : )
Don McLean is brilliant.
dragonlady60 8 8
god bless america!"""" ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! " ! ! ! ! ! ! !
dragonlady60 8 8
this is a golden classic oldie but american"""
dragonlady60 8 8
al...is wierd...lmao
My favorite song has always been Vincent.... I was a singer once also!!
This music moves me to times of my childhood and it was a fun time, playing in the streets of New York under the street lamps on summer nights...goo d stuff.
My moms dancing
skitchens200 9
I listened to this song during my last dentist appointment.
Love story songs like this and Taxi and Same Old Lang's Eyne and Wildfire and others I cant think of.....
grrrreat!!!!
Old. School
Good song
livnngrace2
Weird Al's parody the trilogy begins anyone
kfitzgerald6 9 1
F**king planes
Something touched me deep inside!!!
It made me....cry!

(Sniff) like!

Dream on
Duke
Always liked Castles in the Air--I know I'm weak, but I can't face that girl again.
tmeier920
The bar at college was called the American Tap and American Pie was its signature song, played at least 3 or 4 times a night. Brings back a lot of great memories from college.
yolo
McLean was way beyond his time back then, and to this day he still is...
*thumb
why does he have the Puertorican flag on his thum?
DJ's in the 70's loved this song. It gave them time for a quick Doobie out back of the radio station...
I have sang this song to my baby boy since he was born. Now he asks me to sing him my song. We both love it.
American pie was a song my aunt would sing to me before I went to bed when I was lil every night before he died in 2006 I miss her so much and I just broke down crying
One of my favorite songs is American Pie@
I grew up in a Dry county???? Come on anybody'!!!! ! ! Yea that means no alcohol sold n the county!!! So we drove r Chvys to the next Co.... " to the leve" .....Line to by alcohol!!! N yes they had a drive up window just like McDonalds!.. . . So u could by beer.... this song has a s**t load of memories!!!! ! !
My daddy always bought be this 45 in the 70's because I would play it so much I would wear it out! My honey today always plays this song to cheer me up! Love you baby! Happy 2015!
My wife's favorite childhood song. Love you babycakes . ����happy New Years 2015
ce2flaco
Amy Craig is a brain dead tard. So ya know.
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.
because I've never done anything like this before and in 53 minutes I will be at Midnight Mass...
The devil laughed in pure delight the day ,the music died!!!!

If the music died...that' s the day I'd die.
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.
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