Don Mclean

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About Don Mclean

Singer and songwriter Don McLean is best known for his eight-minute folk-rock opus “American Pie,” which remains the focal point of a career that includes 21 LPs, including holiday albums, a children’s album, and a tribute to Marty Robbins. • “American Pie” was the title track of McLean’s 1971 sophomore album. The song is about a loss of innocence, tied specifically to the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens: “The day the music died.” • The song spent four weeks at No. 1 in 1972 and was added to the National Recording Registry in 2017 by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant.” • Backing vocals on the final chorus of “American Pie” are credited to the West Forty Fourth Street Rhythm and Noise Choir, which the album’s producer, Ed Freeman, said included McLean’s mentor Pete Seeger, along with James Taylor, Livingston Taylor, and Carly Simon. • McLean wrote “Vincent,” the second single from American Pie—and McLean’s second biggest original song—about the painter Vincent Van Gogh. • The success of American Pie and its eponymous single spurred interest in McLean’s first album, 1970’s Tapestry, which entered the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 albums chart in 1972. • Tapestry included the song “And I Love You So,” which was later recorded by Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, and Harry Connick Jr., among others. • McLean had a Top 5 US hit in 1981 with his rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” which went to No. 1 in the UK. McLean had recorded the song for his 1978 album Chain Lightning.

New Rochelle, NY, United States
October 2, 1945

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