Don McLean

Don McLean (Official Website): "I have been singing since I was a small child but once I began to play the guitar, I formed in my mind the idea that perhaps I could write songs. Simple rock songs like 'Teenager in Love' could be played with the same chords over and over. I've taught my young daughter how to play this tune, it's that simple. Folk songs were also everywhere in the fifties and the guitar was perfect for them. A simple, beautiful song will inspire most musicians to try to write. Complicated, pretentious and non-melodic music is a turn-off. So are lessons. Keep music in your life and have fun with it and after a time it will grow on you and you will understand the language of song."

Early Life: According to his parents, Don McLean knew more than one hundred songs by the time he was two years old. Born and raised in New Rochelle, New York, he suffered from asthma, which limited his sports play. Instead, he turned to music, and became a fan of Little Richard and Buddy Holly. "Buddy was the person who made me learn the guitar," recalled Don. "To me, he had a certain energy, and I loved the way he played. I knew I was going to make a living at music for the simple reason that I didn't want to have to wear a suit or take a day job." For a brief time, Don did hold down daytime employment as a paper boy, at age twelve. Later, he would mention that fact in the opening lyrics of "American Pie," the number one single of 1972. While in high school, Don developed an interest in native American music, especially instrumentals that he could play on the guitar or banjo. He performed at parties, and after graduation, started to work the folk club circuit. Don was quickly accepted by such veterans as Josh White, Fred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger, and in 1967, began writing songs. .

Don McLean (Recording Career): Don McLean's superstar status is always attributed to his remarkable song, 'American Pie' which, in 2000, once again topped the charts worldwide, this time recorded by Madonna. Back in 1972, 'Vincent' ('Starry Starry Night'), taken from the 'American Pie' album gave Don McLean a second number one hit single and another landmark entry in the history of popular music. Between the heady years of 1971 and 2000, Don McLean released over 20 albums and scored major chart successes with 'Everyday' (1973), 'Mountains of Mourne' (1974), 'Crying' (1980), 'Castles in the Air' (1981), 'Since I Don't Have You' (1981), 'Can't Blame the Train' (1987) and again with 'American Pie' in the UK in 1991. In 2003, Don's song, 'The Grave', was recorded by George Michael in protest at the Iraq War and in 2005 Don released a career retrospective, Rearview Mirror, which included new versions of some of his best songs including 'Vincent' and 'Empty Chairs'. Don McLean is immortalized as the subject of the Roberta Flack/The Fugees No. 1 hit, ' Killing Me Softly With His Song'. However his greatest honour came in 2004 when Don was inaugurated into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

Don McLean (Wikipedia): Don McLean (born October 2, 1945 in New Rochelle, New York) is an American singer-songwriter. He is most famous for his 1971 songs American Pie and Vincent. Don McLean was profoundly affected by the deaths of both Buddy Holly and John F. Kennedy. In his personal life, he endured the death of his father in 1961. McLean graduated from Iona Preparatory School in 1963 but dropped out of Villanova University before getting a degree. He later attended night school at Iona College and received a Bachelors degree in Business Administration in 1968. He was a popular folk singer at campus events. With the help of a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, he began reaching a wider public, with visits to towns up and down the Hudson River. He learned the art of performing from his friend and mentor Pete Seeger. McLean accompanied Seeger on his Clearwater boat up the Hudson River in 1969 to protest environmental pollution in the river. The Clearwater campaign was widely credited for improving water quality in the Hudson River.