Don McLean in June
Don McLean returns to Galway for two shows in June.
Legendary singer-songwriter Don McLean began in folk music, performing free on behalf of Pete Seeger’s efforts to clean up the Hudson River. His first album included “And I Love You So” which was a massive hit for Perry Como. His second album American Pie ’71 included the irresistibly catchy title track was no.1 for seven weeks and even pulled the first LP into the charts. “Vincent/Castles In The Air” from the same LP was a massive hit and “Vincent” (no.1 in the UK) was being played daily in the entrance to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
Since then he has continued to have a stellar career. Madonna covered ‘American Pie’ for a huge international hit in 1999 and Weird Al Yankovic rewrote it as ‘The Saga Begins’ to send up Star Wars. Some people were surprised that Don allowed Yankovic’s record, as though he didn’t have a sense of humour; in fact a cultural artefact can only be used for this kind of affectionate satire if it is deeply loved in the first place.
Finally, ‘American Pie’ was named the fifth greatest song of the 20th Century by the NEA-RIAA (after, ‘Over The Rainbow’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘This Land Is My Land’ and ‘Respect’) and in 2002 “American Pie” was finally inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 2004 Don McLean was inaugurated into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His award was presented by Garth Brooks who paid this tribute: “Don McLean his work, like the man himself is very deep and very compassionate. His pop anthem American Pie is a cultural phenomenon, and people are still trying to decode it after 35 years! He wrote other great songs like, And I Love You So, If We Try, Wonderful Baby, Winterwood, and my personal favorite Empty Chairs, which just kills me as a fan and a songwriter.”
Also in 2012 Don was awarded the BBC Folk Music Lifetime Achievement Award and performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A busy year also saw the release of “American Troubadour” on CD and DVD and a full colour coffee table book biography of the same name. The DVD charting Don’s life and career has subsequently been broadcast on TV worldwide (regularly on Sky Arts in the UK).
In 2014 Don performed for 30,000 at the Stagecoach Festival – one of the premier country music events in the US. According to the Daily News “the audience went wild, screaming, jumping, dancing. Even after the song was over, the audience still lingered, basking in the afterglow of the performance”.