Don McLean Trivia

Don McLean’s American Pie was selected as one of the five greatest songs of the 20th century in a poll by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America. The other four songs were This Land is Your Land, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Respect, and White Christmas.

American Pie was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003.

Don McLean was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2004.

The following Don McLean songs have each been played over three million times on American radio: American Pie, And I Love You So, Vincent, and Castles in the Air.

Don McLean attended the Founders Dinner at the Clinton White House on New Years Eve, 1999. He then performed at the Concert for the Millennium, produced by Quincy Jones. The dinner and the concert honored people who had influenced the 20th century.

Don McLean won the folk-singing contest at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York.

In 1968 Don McLean earned a BA degree from Iona College with a major in finance and a minor in philosophy.

In 2001 McLean received an honorary doctorate from Iona College.

Don McLean always sings American Pie in concert, despite press accounts to the contrary.

An urban legend claims that American Pie was the name of Buddy Holly’s plane. It is not true. Buddy Holly did not own a plane.

The song Tapestry inspired the creation of the environmental action group Greenpeace.

Don McLean’s song Babylon is the theme song for the German Green Party.

A bronze plaque containing the poem So Long Hopalong Cassidy, from the original American Pie album, hangs in the hospital where William Boyd, the star of Hopalong Cassidy, died in 1972.

Johnny Cash wrote I Wish I Could Yodel after hearing Don sing Lovesick Blues in Cash’s home.

Because of McLean’s song The Legend of Andrew McCrew, radio station WGN in Chicago raised money for a headstone for the mummified hobo featured in the song.

Don McLean’s And I Love You So is the last song on Elvis in Concert, the last album Elvis Presley recorded.

Don McLean’s hit record Crying features Elvis band and back-up singers, the Jordanaires.

The song Jerusalem was composed for that city at the request of its mayor.

George Michael sang McLean’s anti-war song The Grave in protest of Americas invasion of Iraq, in March of 2003.

Artists as diverse as: Madonna, Fred Astaire, Chet Atkins, Weird Al Yankovic, Elvis Presley, Josh Groban, Perry Como, and Coolio have performed McLean’s songs.

According to the movie Tupac, the Resurrection, Tupac Shakur was influenced by Don McLean, and his favorite song was Vincent.

Mike Mills of REM says the album Don McLean is one of his all-time favorites.

Don McLean is a skilled western horseman. He owns and trained three Appaloosa horses.

Don McLean has 50 pairs of custom-made western boots, and he wears only Levi 501 button-fly jeans.

In the year 2000 the Martin Guitar Company created a limited edition signature Don McLean guitar, the D-40DM.

Don McLean was the first American artist to perform at the Sydney Opera House.

Don McLean was the guest artist at the Boston Pops Fourth of July celebration in 2000, the first of the century.

Garth Brooks introduced Don McLean as my idol to over 1,000,000 New Yorkers at a 1997 concert in Central Park. And the musicians sang American Pie together.

Don McLean was the first songwriter to have No. 1 singles in two separate centuries.

David New, a British fan, has a picture of Don McLean tattooed in color across his entire back. He was the first fan to do this in 1978.

The Don McLean Foundation sends students, who cannot otherwise afford it, to college and contributes to homeless shelters and food banks in the state of Maine.


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  1. “Don’s music has gotten me through some really tough patches, and gave me utter joy at the little church in the Village in the early 70s.”

  2. “Writing this on my daughters posting. I have always loved Don’s music, but Winter Wood is my Absolute fave. His music covers everything I love in music. Music to play over and over.”

  3. “I love Don Mclean and have since I was 11 or so. I play(ed) acoustic gutair and played most of his songs.He definately wrote a “”killing ME softly song””, it is Circus Song. I know from his music that he has exerienced depression, as I do, and he explains the feelings so well. I have seen him in concert in minneapolis twice. once at the Guthrie Theater when he premiered the play “”Letters from My Brother”” a one man show starring leonard nemoi as Vincent Van Gogh’s brother. Sadly the second time was a “”free”” concert during the 4th of July on our state captital grounds. There were many fans there, but it must have been during a very bad lull in his career. He probably never wants to come to Minnesota again, which is our loss.”

  4. “Don McLean brings so much to every listener. I can’t imagine that there is any person who can fail to identify with at least one message he sings. He is no just entertainment, he is a messanger. I smile, cry, and then play them again.”

  5. “I remember that Don got star billing in the first Sydney Opera House concert.He sang Dreidel, And I Love You So, and Vincent to thunderous applause.”

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