Don McLean

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Don McLean
Don McLean at a concert, 2008
Don McLean at a concert, 2008
Background information
Birth nameDonald McLean III
Born (1945-10-02) October 2, 1945 (age 78)
GenresFolk, Folk rock
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, Musician
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar
Years active1969 - present

Donald McLean III (born October 2, 1945) is an American singer and songwriter. He is most well known for the songs "American Pie" and "Vincent".

In his early career, Don McLean mainly played folk music. He sang folk songs and played simple chords with acoustic guitar and harmonica. In 1969, Don Mclean joined folk singer Pete Seeger in the environment campaign. They gave talks and playing concerts to help people know some of the problems with the environment. Also in the same year, Don McLean released his first album Tapestry. This album was not very successful. McLean continued to perform in many small places.

In 1971, Don Mclean released an eight minute long song named "American Pie". The song was dedicated to Don McLean’s music hero Buddy Holly. Much of the song was about the deaths of Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) in 1959. It also dealt with many important events in American history. Quickly "American Pie" became the number 1 song in the United States. Don McLean became a superstar and drew many audiences to his concerts. In 2005, American Pie was voted 5th in the "365 songs of the century" list. His second single "Vincent", featuring Vincent Van Gogh's masterpiece "Starry Night", was also at the top of the UK and US charts in 1971. The song is played in Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam every day.

In the later 1970s, Don McLean tried other styles of songs. He was not as popular with these other styles. Bad sales of albums caused him to change recording companies from one to another. Finally, in 1980, Don McLean regained his popularity by playing "Crying", a song first sang by Roy Orbison. The song reached the first place in UK chart.

Don is still writing and singing his own songs and performing in concerts.

The famous guitar player, Eric Clapton, spoke highly of Don McLean’s guitar playing skill after listening to his guitar performance. Also, Don McLean’s performance on stage once inspired Lori Lieberman to write the 1974 Grammy-winning song "Killing me softly with his song". Most of the successive folk singers entitled him with "US legend"