Don McLean, one of America’s best-known singer-songwriters, interviewed by producer Ed Freeman and musician Jake Bugg, whose musical path was initiated when hearing “Vincent” for the first time on the TV, is featured in the BBC Classic Album Series titled, Don McLean: American Pie this weekend. The program also highlights a poignant archive performance of George Michaelsinging McLean’s “The Grave”.
It’s the story of Don McLean‘s second album American Pie. Crowned by its titular overture and the song “Vincent”, McLean’s equally moving tribute to Van Gogh, American Pie is a classic of the folk-rock genre, earning its place alongside Carole King‘s Tapestry, Joni Mitchell‘s Blue and Neil Young‘s After The Goldrush as one of the landmark singer-songwriter LPs of 1971, a year recently celebrated in a book by award-winning journalist David Hepworth as ‘rock’s golden year’. Don McLean is featured in extensive new interviews, discussing the intricacies of his songs, the sometimes fraught recording process, and the album’s legacy.
Forty-five years after its release, there has never been another album quite like American Pie. While a product of its era pinpointing a precise moment of cultural change in the shattered hopes of baby boomers, its impact continues to reverberate down the years with a poignancy and relevance that hasn’t diminished.
The questions it raises about its country’s past, present and future are as much a part of our cultural dialogue in Trump’s 2017 as they were in Nixon’s 1971. “I had most of the album written without American Pie,” explains McLean. “But I wasn’t happy with that. I knew it wasn’t finished. I had more to say. I had this this really big song I needed to get out.”
Tune in now on BBC Four and again at 2am GMT (UK) ; 9/8c (USA). For more information, visit bbc.co.uk.
Don McLean Tour Dates:
Dec 09 – New Hope Winery – New Hope, Pa. SOLD OUT!
Jan 27 – City Winery – Atlanta, Ga.
Feb 03 – Deadwood Mountain Grand – Deadwood, S.D.
Feb 16 – Space Coast Daily Park – Melbourne, Fla.
Feb 17 – Dosey Does – The Woodlands, Texas
Feb 23 – Bonita Springs, FL – Southwest Florida Center
Mar 02 – Mesa Arts Center – Ikeda Theatre – Mesa, Ariz.
Mar 03 – Saban Theatre – Beverly Hills, Calif.
Mar 10 – The Cascade Theatre – Redding, Calif.
Mar 23 – City Winery – New York, N.Y.
Apr 13 – Greenwich Odeum – East Greenwich, R.I.
Apr 14 – The Birchmere – Alexandria, Va.
Apr 29 – Southend Cliffs Pavillion – Westcliff-On-Sea, UK
Apr 30 – York Barbican Centre – York, UK
May 01 – Victoria Theatre – Halifax, UK
May 02 – Sage Gateshead – Gateshead, UK
May 04 – De La Warr Pavilion – Bexhill On Sea, UK
May 06 – Wales Millennium Centre – Cardiff, UK
May 07 – The Bridgewater Hall – Manchester, UK
May 09 – London Palladium – London, UK
May 10 – Symphony Hall – Birmingham, UK
May 11 – Colston Hall – Bristol, UK
May 13 – Philharmonic Hall – Liverpool, UK
May 15 – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Glasgow, UK
May 16 – Usher Hall – Edinburgh, UK
May 20 – Vicar Street – Dublin, Ireland
May 21 – Vicar Street – Dublin, Ireland
May 22 – Vicar Street – Dublin, Ireland
May 23 – Vicar Street – Dublin, Ireland
June 01 – University Concert Hall – Limerick City, Ireland
June 07 – Waterfront Hall Auditorium – Belfast, Ireland
June 08 – Leisureland – Galway, Ireland
June 09 – Leisureland – Galway, Ireland
July 21 – Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, Conn.
July 27 – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
July 28 – Capitol Theater – Clearwater, Fla.
Aug 11 – Freight & Salvage – Berkeley, Calif.
Aug 19 – City Winery – Chicago, Ill.
Sept 08 – Theater at Westbury (with Pure Prairie League) – Westbury, N.Y.
Sept 22 – Tupelo Music Hall – Derry, N.H.
For the most up-to-date information and all of McLean’s tour dates please visit Don-McLean.com.
About Don McLean:
A New York native, Don McLean is one of the most revered and respected songwriters in American history. After paying his dues in the New York club scene in the late ‘60s, he went on to score mega-hits like “American Pie,” “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air” and many more. In 2004, McLean was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame by country superstar Garth Brooks. “American Pie” has brought great happiness and hope to millions of people through the years and continues to be honored for its success. In 2000, the song was named one of the Top 5 Songs of the 20th Century by the RIAA and in 2002 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 2017 brought a huge honor when the iconic song was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, joining less than 500 works including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” classical music compositions, infamous live broadcasts and similar recordings. McLean continues to tour both North America and abroad bringing a mix of his classic hits with an array of new works, some of which will be released in 2018.