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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

x

Track List: Playin' Favorites

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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adixon1027
I'm 12 and I love this song
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Awesome!!!
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Makes you miss the younger days. Still makes me want to dance.
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What memories that brings back. Makes me feel what memories that brings to my soul. The way we used to be.
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rwilliams808
American Pie... What a song...
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RAS Forever
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Love it
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This was 1 of my Favorite Songs when I was YOUNG!! And still is!
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jbashore2
Had an opportunity to hear Don in Jamestown NY back in 1986, very good show...and he played American Pie...it was a wonderful time
...:)
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wwanderson22
Great somg
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isaacrblack
It first introduced me to classic rock and will always be my favorite song
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This song beats EVERY SINGLE OTHER SONG!
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This song though
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garrickconne c t i o n
A great songwriter!
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:) :)
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k_r_i_7
Great Song!
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sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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jtny786
American Pie is the best set of pop lyrics, ever. Anyone who came up during those times really get it,, but it's great anyway
Poor McLean, how do you top a song like this? The Beatles did it, but even they couldn't do it all the time and they had a huge music machine working for them.
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I was coming back from leave in the Military and had a twenty hour drive ahead of me - this song was introduced as I was leaving my home town and as I drove South every station was playing this as the greatest new song - by the time I got to the base, I knew the song better than Don McLean did . . lot's of coffee and this song made my trip bearable - - - will go down in my history as one of the best . . .
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I think I said this before one of the greatest songs ever written.rip buddy holy Richie valeans big bopper
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Beutiful music
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You know, it's only stiffs like chrisrothart that have never partaken, that say such moronic s**t

Somebody like you needs to get high desparately
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cole.ewalt
I completely agree
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This song is in my top 10 of all time one of the best well written songs of all time it has so much meaning.rip buddy holly big bopper Richie valens
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Even thow he is probably smoking pot he's still a great singer
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One of my favs
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greschler200 0
This guy can deliver a good a** whoopin'
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Love him
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What was the deal, the day the music died? - Jerry Seinfeld's favorite line from American Pie.
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Love American pie
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Ageless!!
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msg20026
Saw him in concert September 27, 2008
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Love it beautiful
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abbycrow23
Do you believe in rock and roll? Can music save your mortal soul?
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May THE MUSIC. NEVER DIE,!!!
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Like a fine wine, music only gets better with time.
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gypsyme3
This does not sound like the person I met on Pandora n we shared .. Much .. I honored when u were w FAM .. Sure u ok ?
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I guess I am not a priority and never will be
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mike3345mike
great road trip sound
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This song is credited at the end of American pie movies ��
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OMG!!!!!!!!! ! ! I LOVE THE SONG AMERICAN PIE!!!!!!!!! ! !
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Every time I hear this song I think of my dad (who died when I was 7) and I always say turn it up !!!
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Every time I hear this I think of my day (who died when I was 7) and I always say turn it up' !!!
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And we were singing.. Bye bye Ms. American Pie
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dragonlady60 8 8
They can't EVER TAKE OUR MUSIC AWAY.....
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dragonlady60 8 8
BEST MUSIC!!!!
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michaelsemid e y 5
Just great momories !!!
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My dad sang this song all the time back then, and still does. It used to drive me crazy but listening to it now and reading all these comments, I'm starting to show appreciation for it. Thanks guys!!! :)
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It was the first thing I remember learning my freshman year in College, CUA 1989. During orientation week this song played constantly.. . . : - )
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