Don McLean - Still Playin’ Favorites

Fri Nov 06, 2020

Catching up with Don McLean at his home in the USA, his personality is as strong and as free spirited as he was decades ago when his career soared to the top of the charts in 1971 with the legendary hit song, ‘American Pie’. The charttopping hit was an 8.5-minute folk rock "cultural touchstone" about the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation.

“I have always been the type of man who needs his freedom and I have a strong need and urge to be creative, even as a kid I knew I wanted to be a performer. I was an only child and my parents and friends were my first audiences. I was brought up in a typical middle class family in New Rochelle, New York and listened to every recording I could get my hands on growing up. I didn’t fit with what my father (Donald McLean ll) wanted me to be, and it was a strict upbringing so not an easy way of life to accept when you are an artist wanting to follow your dreams. He thought a musician was the lowest thing you could be. But when I was just 15 years old, he died and I didn’t know what I was going to do without him. He was the king, the boss. He knew everything.”

Don McLean of American Pie Fame - Up Close and Personal

Fri Aug 07 2020
Don McLean

Don McLean is hardly known for his blues work or output. But as the guy who wrote one of the most important songs of a generation, around fifty years ago, with ‘American Pie,’ he hit the global charts, the airwaves and the world for a cert home-run.  One copy of the original, hand-written lyrics alone fetched over a million bucks at auction and McLean laughs at the thought and says he has a few other hand-written copies still on hand.

When the opportunity again arose to speak with McLean at home (one of four houses, he tells me) in California’s Palm Springs area, I couldn’t pass up the chance of catching up with the guy, picking up on themes we touched on when his last album, ‘Botanical Gardens’ launched in 2018. McLean is always warmly friendly, much as might be expected from a modern US roots music master who generally keeps one strict personal rule in place - writing his own material and seldom, if ever, recording the work of others.

Don McLean ‘Mr American Pie’ in the Botanical Gardens

Fri Sep 07, 2018

Don McLean is one of those rare characters, a true US music icon with a song-writing knack and a melodic thrust few can ever reach, let alone match. With a new album just out, ‘Botanical Gardens,’ he is relaxed, assured and happy to look back at his fifty years on the road, a modern troubadour who still loves the buzz of live performance.

I love being out there, on-stage, never knowing what might happen. I’m flying and I only hope everybody gets it and it goes well and is not a disaster. I don’t wear a harness. I’m like a wild horse,’ he says with evident relish.