This week, Ira spoke with Don McLean.
Singer-songwriter Don McLean will be performing at the Orleans Showroom on Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19. Joining McLean will be Judy Collins.
McLean is one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriters and is forever associated with his classic hits “American Pie,” “Vincent (Starry Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air,” “And I Love You So” and “Crying.”
In 1969, McLean recorded his first album “Tapestry” in Berkeley, Calif. Student riots were going on outside the studio as Don was singing “And I Love You So” inside. The album was first released by Mediarts and achieved commercial success.
His transition to international stardom began with the release of “American Pie” in 1971. A month later, McLean’s song first played on New York’s WNEW-FM and WPLJ-FM to mark the closing of The Fillmore East, the famous New York concert hall. Thirty years later, the song was voted # 5 in a poll of the “365 Songs of the Century” compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Since first hitting the charts in 1971, McLean has amassed more than 40 gold and platinum records world-wide and, in 2004, was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by artists from every musical genre, most notably Madonna’s No. 1 recording of “American Pie” in 2000 and George Michael’s version of “The Grave” in 2003, sung in protest at the Iraq War.
In 2007, McLean shared his life story in Alan Howard’s biography, “The Don McLean Story: Killing Us Softly With His Songs.” In June 2011 Don performed for an audience of 100,000 at the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.