Chain Lightning

220px-donmcleanchainlightning

  1. Words and Music
  2. Crying
  3. It’s Just the Sun
  4. Lotta Lovin’
  5. Chain Lightning
  6. Your Cheatin’ Heart
  7. Wonderful Night
  8. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
  9. Since I Don’t Have You
  10. Genesis (In the Beginning)
  11. It’s a Beautiful Life

A worldwide hit album produced by Larry Butler. Recorded Jun 26, 1978-Aug 23, 1978 in Nashville and features for the first time with Don McLean, Elvis Presley’s backing singers (The Jordanaires) and musicians. ‘Crying’ and ‘Since I Don’t Have You’ became huge hits. CD re-issue (hip-o records, 1997) includes bonus track ‘If You Could Read My Mind’. CD cover also features the original artwork that was not used for the original release.

EMI INTERNATIONAL INS-3025 (UK), Released December 1978 [LP]
INTERFUSION (FESTIVAL) L36758 (AUS), Released 1979 [LP]
MILLENIUM BXL1-7756, Released January 1981 [LP]
HIP-O HIPD-40061, Reissued July 1997 [CD]*

*With Bonus Track: If You Could Read My Mind (Lightfoot)

  • Don McLean – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
  • James D. Capps, Ray Edenton – Acoustic Guitar
  • Tommy D. Alsup, Billy R. Sanford – Electric Guitar
  • Pete Drake – Pedal Steel Guitar
  • Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Chuck Cochran – Piano
  • Bobby R. Woods – Electric Piano
  • Bob “King” Moore – Bass
  • Jerry K. Carrigan – Drums, Percussion
  • Joseph E. Chrisman, Eddy Anderson – Drums
  • The Jordanaires – Background Vocals
  • The Nashville Strings.

24 thoughts on “Chain Lightning

  1. One of The Don&#39s best. Genesis and It&#39s Just The Sun are two of his standards. A wonderfully crafted lyrical and musical masterpiece. Essential McLean. (Rated 5 out of 5)

  2. “This has got to be Don at his best- which he always seems to be anyway, but there you are. Chain Lightning is probably now my favourite Don song- more lyrics to puzzle over! Words And Music has to be one of his most cheerful and toe-tapping songs (okay, I admit it, it makes me leave my chair and dance!), while It&#39s Just The Sun is so dreamy sounding! The covers on this album are astounding ( in the best way)- I love them all, but Don&#39s take on If You Could Read My Mind is definitely the most beautiful version by far! I mean, I hate to gush, but really! What a gorgeous album altogether! The other thing I love about this album is the song It&#39s A Beautiful Life. Well, “”song””. I love getting the opportunity to hear his voice talking, it is really special. Anyhow I&#39ve gushed enough. What I say is, GET THIS ALBUM!! You will DEFINITELY not be disappointed! (Rated 5 out of 5)”

  3. “It&#39s hard to select a number for my “”overall”” rating for this album. It&#39s an uneven album, in my opinion, and there are a number of tracks which do nothing for me.
    Also, “”Crying”” is a fine recording, but I cannot seriously suggest it matches Orbison&#39s immortal rendition of the song. “”Since I Don&#39t Have You”” is a fun song, but nothing more.
    So….why do I give it 5 stars? Because it contains a track which is not only my favorite Don McLean song, but one of my favorite 5 or 10 pop songs by ANY artist, ever.
    I&#39m speaking of the title track, “”Chain Lightning.”” The first time I heard it, the guitar chords which open the song had me mesmerized. That was before McLean had begun singing
    any of the lyrics. By the end of the song, I was in tears…and I&#39ve never before been moved to tears by a song which isn&#39t, ultimately, a real sad song. The lyrics and melody of
    “”Chain Lightning”” are almost unbelievably powerful, and a lot of my friends–none of whom had ever heard it before–have agreed. And McLean&#39s vocal on the song is awesome. Whereas
    his recording of “”Crying”” inevitably makes you compare him to Orbison (a comparison in which I&#39m confident at least 80% of the people would agree McLean emerges the loser) this song
    was MADE for McLean&#39s unique voice. It is a very rare example of a song whose author found a perfect blend of haunting melody and extraordinary lyrics (I just LOVE the final verse),
    and tailored it for his specific vocal abilities. It&#39s an unbelievable song, and it&#39s unbelievable how few people have heard it. If you can find a store which has this
    CD and will let you listen to it, do so. The title track alone would make it worth $100, and you can probably get it for 1/10 of that amount. (Rated 5 out of 5)”

  4. “uneven is the word without doubt, this contains two great cover versions in crying and since i dont have you, Dons Version of Crying being the best i&#39ve ever heard. but the highlights are his own songs, Words and Music, great song, Just the Sun, classic song, but Chain LIghtning that is an epic song of perfection nuff said! (Rated 4 out of 5)”

  5. “Quintessential McLean.

    Genesis is an incredibly enchanting version of the Creation of mankind. Perhaps Don McLean&#39s best song ever.

    Oh, fantastic. Just amazing. Incredible. (Rated 4 out of 5)”

  6. “I&#39m from Israel, and I love the song Genesis, which I&#39ve heard from time to time on the radio.
    I&#39ve heard an hebrew version by Gali Atari, and I was seeking desperatly for the original song.
    Unfortuntly I haven&#39t find the CD in Israel at all… (Rated 5 out of 5)”

  7. I really love this album. My mother has the original vinyl cover of just Don&#39s face. I&#39ve been trying to find a duplicate for years… (Rated 5 out of 5)

  8. This is one of my top rating albums of all time.It has some of the best ballads ever written especially &#39Chain lightning&#39.A classic in every sense. (Rated 5 out of 5)

  9. I love this song! It is not from my generation but I could listen to it wver and over again! American Pie all the way!!! (Rated 5 out of 5)

  10. In my opinion i think Don Mclean is an outstanding singer and performer with a passion and a gift for music that is so unimaginable in a sense that is it is blind to people. A man of excellent character and a voice that anyone could listen to all day long. (Rated 5 out of 5)

  11. “The first time I heard Chain Lightnin (the song) I was entranced…the music, the lyrics…its one of my all time favourites. (Rated 5 out of 5)”

  12. “Is the best album and the best song of the best songwriter of the age.
    Thanks Don, you help me when I down. (Rated 5 out of 5)”

  13. “I submitted the long comment about the album “”Chain Lightning,”” and its other-wordly title track, on 11/12/00. I want to offer this update.

    I have an enormous cd collection, and I recently undertook an enormous venture: figure out my favorite 500 songs or so, record them on cd&#39s where they flow pretty well, then rate my personal top 40 songs of all time, in order, from #40 to #1.

    #1 has remained constant since August of 1968, a song everyone knows and most either love or hate: the Beatles&#39 “”Hey Jude.”” No song will ever displace that from my #1 spot.

    But #2? So many songs I so greatly love, from asskicking rock like Steve Earle&#39s “”Taneytown”” to hippie anthems like “”A Day in the Life”” to beauties like “”Bridge Over Troubled Water”” or Lyle Lovett&#39s “”Simple Song””–which, if you&#39re like me and not a country fan, will blow you away.

    However….

    After hundreds of hours of agonizing over the order in which to put my 40 favorite songs, I got it done. And the winner of the #2 spot? “”Chain Lightning.””

    In other words, it&#39s now 4 years later and I only love the song more. And while I can understand why some people dislike “”Hey Jude,”” I cannot imagine anyone&#39s feeling that way about “”Chain Lightning.”” I have listened to it 20 times in one day without tiring of it, and it is still true that every person I&#39ve played it for was overpowered by its beauty. They don&#39t all weep, like I still sometimes do, but they are all blown away.

    Thank you, Mr. McLean, for a song which will stay in my heart until the day it takes its final beat. (Rated 5 out of 5)”

  14. “My Favourite album. I believe your track listing should be as follows:-
    1. Words and Music
    2. Crying
    3. It&#39s Just the Sun
    4. Lotta Lovin&#39
    5. Chain Lightning
    6. Your Cheatin&#39 Heart
    7. Wonderful Night
    8. It Doesn&#39t Matter Anymore
    9. Since I Don&#39t Have You
    10. Genesis (In the Beginning
    11. It&#39s a Beautiful Life
    12. Bonus Track, my vinyl album doesn&#39t have this 12th track.
    I believe “”Crying in the Chapel”” doesn&#39t belong on this album. (should be “”Crying””) (Rated 5 out of 5)”

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