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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: Don Mclean: American Troubadour

1. Everyday (Live)

2. Castles In The Air (Alternate Version)

3. American Pie (Live)

4. Winterwood (Live)

5. And I Love You So (A Duet With Nanci Griffith)

6. Addicted To Black

7. Crying

8. Empty Chairs (Alternate Version)

9. Since I Don't Have You

10. I Tune The World Out

11. Homeless Brother (Live)

12. Wonderful Baby

13. Have You Seen Me

14. I Was Always Young

15. Lovers Love The Spring

16. Words And Music

17. Left For Dead On The Road Of Love

18. If I Hadn't Met You

19. If We Try (Live)

20. Crossroads (Live)

21. Vincent (Starry Starry Night) (Live)

22. Headroom

23. Prime Time

24. 1967 (Live)

25. Jerusalem (Live)

26. Superman's Ghost (Live)

27. Infinity (Live)

28. Magdalene Lane (Live)

29. Sea Man

30. The Statue

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: Greatest Hits Live! Volume 1

1. It's Just The Sun (Live)

2. Building My Body (Live)

3. Wonderful Baby

4. The Very Thought Of You

5. Fool's Paradise (Live)

6. (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care

7. You Have Lived

8. The Statue (Live)

9. Prime Time (Live)

10. American Pie (Live)

11. Left For Dead On The Road Of Love

x

Track List: Greatest Hits Live! Volume 2

1. Believers (Live)

2. Sea Man (Live)

3. It's A Beautiful Life (Live)

4. Chain Lightning (Live)

5. Crazy Eyes (Live)

6. La La Love You (Live)

7. Dream Lover (Live)

8. Crying (Live)

9. Vincent (Starry Starry Night) (Live)

x

Track List: Favorites & Rarities (World)

Disc 1

1. Castles In The Air

2. And I Love You So

3. American Pie

4. Vincent

5. Babylon

6. Empty Chairs

7. Dreidel

8. If We Try

9. Fool's Paradise

10. Sitting On Top Of The World

11. La La Love You

12. Wonderful Baby

13. Crying In The Chapel

14. Magdalene Lane

15. Crying

16. Since I Don't Have You

17. Castles In The Air (Millenium Version)

18. He's Got You

19. Superman's Ghost

20. You Can't Blame The Train

Disc 2

1. Good Old Wagon

2. Milkman's Matinee

3. Aftermath

4. Mother Nature

5. Everyday (BBC Version)

6. That's All Right

7. Profiteering Blue

8. Hit Parade Of Love

9. The Carnival Is Ended

10. I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome (Blue And Lonesome Too)

11. Nature Boy

12. Black Sheep Boy

13. Mountains O'Mourne (Live)

14. And Her Mother Came Too (Live)

15. Yonkers Girl (Live)

16. Turkey In The Straw

17. Dubuque

18. Sally Ann/Muleskinner Blues/Old Joe Clark (Medley)

19. If We Try

20. Perfect Love

21. Little Child

22. Gotta Make You Mine

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: 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

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: Homeless Brother

1. Winter Has Me In Its Grip

2. La La Love You

3. Homeless Brother

4. Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond)

5. The Legend Of Andrew McCrew

6. Wonderful Baby

7. You Have Lived

8. Great Big Man

9. Tangled (Like A Spider In Her Hair)

10. Crying In The Chapel

11. Did You Know

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

Comments

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This is the day I died.
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One of my favorite songs. Ever.
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I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!
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The music died along time ago
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The day music died?Bye,bye American pie
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Good s**t!
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This well be the day that I did.
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Sad and beautiful at the same time.
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They caught the last train to the coast WOW
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fiel225
I love the old version of American Pie also by Don Mc Lean but hey it's still Don
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1964 Chevy Malibu and Don McLean, great memories!
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dragonlady60 8 8
IM GLAD TO HEAR THE OLE TIME ROCK AND ROLLERS ARE DOING CONCERTS AGIAN...ENJO Y . . . . T H O S E OF U WHO GET TO SEE THEM ITS HISTORY.
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dragonlady60 8 8
DON MCLEAN....RE A L L Y NICE GUY..!!!!
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Bye, bye ms. American pie drove the chevy to the.....
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Don McLean is the best of all time.
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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stopped me in my tracks...thi s song sure gets my attention every time I hear it.
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A great song by Don McLean, one of many he wrote and sang. He is a great performer and songwriter!
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I'm young and this is one of my favorites
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WE. LOVE. YOU. DON. YA WE. DO
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My hands are clenched with fists of rage for the loss of Buddy Holly too sweetie!! I loved him too!! Truly the day the �� music wouldn't play. RIP Buddy Holly!!
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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I got all eight minutes
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I dig them rhythm and blues
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I know the history of this song!!!!!!!! ! ! !
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lormas12
Thumbs way down!!!!! Finish the dang song
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where's the rest of it?
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I have to agree you should play the full version
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thumbs way down !!!! where's the rest of the song, yo ??!!
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One of the staples of the early 70's
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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...They only played the first two minutes of the song. WHAT THE HELL PANDORA?! GET YOUR S**T TOGETHER!
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Know every word....sinc e I was 12...never gets old... this is music!
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spoiledk9s
STILL know all the lyrics! Was singin' at work the other night! #thisERRNsin g s a t w o r k
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����
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Too bad, Douglas. Love Starry Night.
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Don McLean the best songwriter and best at stage performance; to bad he was stuck on trying to overcome his American Pie success. He should of just kept on jamming with and to his strength: Writing music and performing. His song Starry Starry Night was another hit as great as American Pie.
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��
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This is my favorite Pearl Jam song!
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Smokey needs to stop smoking, he's losing his brain cells. Sorry not Billy Joel.
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Omg these people!! Someone just friggin said this is their favorite Billy Joel song! Errrrrrrrrrr
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My favorite Billy Joel song ever!!!...me m o r y lane!!!
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david_e_cohe n
When I was a child, jukeboxes were common, and American Pie was so long they broke it into part 1 and part 2. You had to play (and pay for) 2 selections to hear the whole song. It was worth it. :^)
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The plane had no name. It's an urban legend.
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I heard the plane was called the American pie. Does anyone know about that ?
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My first sing along! Still know all the words!
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Tribute to Vincent The paint titled Vincent. Not Starry Night...
Sorry for the mix up of my last post.
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Don McLean... Was defined by his tribute to Buddy Holly, who was known as the Music. However, he is known for Starring Starry Night and many other song Don wrote, a great artist and songwriter.
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America's sad love song the times of true change God bless America
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My youth!
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