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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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1 Kiss your left hand

2 Say your crushes name

3 Close your hand

4 Pick a school day

5 Say your name

6 Post this on 15 different songs and on the day you picked is the day your cherish will ask you to be more than friends.
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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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sandramcleod 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Love American pie
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Ageless!!
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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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loissroka
May THE MUSIC. NEVER DIE,!!!
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Without a doubt one of the best well written songs of all tim
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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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sheffield57
I guess I am not a priority and never will be
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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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I went to see a band called Blood, Sweat and Tears in 1971 and the opening act was a guy with a piano and a guitar. I'd never heard of this guy, but he played a few songs and was more entertaining than the headlining act. He taught the crowd the chorus to one song so we could sing along.
This was the guy and the song.
And now everyone can sing along.

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Hewn
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The altar he's with iron (there be son daughter blood)
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It seems that music in the main line steam and radio as gone into stagnation
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What happened to music like this, when it hit 2000 it has been all down hill from there!
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I love oldies
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wonderful
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bobhennings0
Great song
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bobhennings0
In fifth grade in music class my teacher played this song and dissected it and told us what it was about. I think back to that time and I was so lucky that music teacher thought enough about that song and told us what it meant to this day I still love that song. Thank you Memorial School Totowa New Jersey
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dennis1270
45 years ago, when my husband returned from Viet Nam, he would pick me up from working the late shift at 10 or 11 o'clock at night. We sat in the car for hours in front of his house talking about just everything including VN. They played this song and Jeremiah was a Bullfrog - seemed like every 30 minutes! Whenever I hear this song, it immediately takes me back to our late night dates.
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Saw Don McLean here in my hometown 3 months ago. It was a great concert. Jackson Browne is showing up in March at the same venue. We can put them on the same billing and call it the domestic violence tour. Okay I'm kind of kidding but - you have to be sensitive to this crap nowadays.
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bocajane1954
You don't even have to publish the words ...... we know them all :) !!
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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
Show more

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