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Don McLean

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Bio

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
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Albums by
Don McLean

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    16 songs

    On Air

    Don Mclean: Live In Manchester

    11 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits Live! Volume 1

    13 songs

    On Air

    Prime Time

    12 songs

    On Air

    Believers

    12 songs

    On Air

    Chain Lightning

    21 songs

    On Air

    For the Memories

    11 songs

    On Air

    Tapestry

    11 songs

    On Air

    Homeless Brother

    10 songs

    On Air

    American Pie

    39 songs

    On Air

    Don Mclean: American Troubadour [DVD]

    9 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits Live! Volume 2

    11 songs

    On Air

    Addicted to Black

    18 songs

    On Air

    Collection

    37 songs

    On Air

    Prime Time/Chain Lightning/Believers

    42 songs

    On Air

    Favourites and Rarities: The Very Best of Don McLean

    10 songs

    On Air

    The Best of Don McLean [EMI 1988]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Don McLean

    18 songs

    On Air

    Rearview Mirror: An American Musical Journey [Promo]

    12 songs

    On Air

    American Pie [Bonus Tracks]

    19 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best Of Don McLean

    13 songs

    On Air

    Castles in the Air

    21 songs

    On Air

    Legendary Songs of Don McLean

    10 songs

    On Air

    American Pie & Other Hits

    41 songs

    On Air

    Live Greatest Hits/For the Memories

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Don McLean

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   American Pie
  3.   Vincent
  4.   Babylon
  5.   Castles In The Air
  6.   Empty Chairs
  7.   Till Tomorrow
  8.   The Pride Parade
  9.   General Store
  10.   Homeless Brother
  11.   And I Love You So
  12.   Dreidel
  13.   Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)
  14.   Crying
  15.   Pretty Paper
  16.   The Pattern Is Broken
  17.   Run, Diana Run
  18.   Amercian Pie
  19.   Sittin' in the Balcony
  20.   Banjo
  21.   Everyday
  22.   If We Try
  23.   The Three of Us
  24.   Sea Man
  25.   American Pie, Pts. 1-2
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Don McLean

    On Air

    Little Deuce Coupe

    On Air

    Sing-A-Long Songs

    On Air

    Folk

    On Air

    Singing In The Shower

    On Air

    Family Road Trip

    On Air

    Branch Out New Music

    On Air

    4th of July Celebration

    On Air

    Acoustic Anthems

    On Air

    Billy Currington: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    '70s Hits

    On Air

    My Parents' Record Collection

    On Air

    Oldies

    On Air

    '70s Deep Dive

    On Air

    Eclectic Rock

    On Air

    Vocal Standards

    On Air

    '70s Rock

    On Air

    Classic Hits


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