Andrew Marr Show, BBC1 9.00am Sunday

Don McLean appeared on the Andrew Marr show this morning. This is primarily a politics show and Don’s support was David Cameron, who on Friday may become Britain’s new Prime Minister.

Andrew Marr’s brief interview with Don McLean has made the BBC News website front page. Don McLean talked in his usual way about writing American Pie except today his words make headline news. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8656973.stm

Weekend Wogan

Don has sung three songs (And I Love You So, Addicted to Black and Vincent) on this morning’s Weekend Wogan radio show. You can see these performances and the interview on television from tomorrow by pressing the red button while tuned into BBC 1 on Sky TV. It is also available on freeview and on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qgw59.

The Weekend Wogan Band did a good job backing Don and Addicted to Black was very well received by the audience (the show is recorded live in the BBC radio theatre in London).

Don McLean now starts his (much longer than anticipated)  journey to Holland for the first concert in Amsterdam tomorrow.

Vincent (Starry Starry Night)

vicnent1

McLean wrote “Vincent,” also known as “Starry, Starry Night,” in the fall of 1970, while he was working for the Berkshire School District. He was living in the Sedgwick House, a beautiful Federal style house in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The Sedgwick family included Edie Sedgwick, a colorful figure whom Andy Warhol had filmed in the 1960s. McLean wrote “Vincent” in his apartment full of antiques. The inspiration came to him one morning while he was sitting on the veranda looking at a book about Vincent Van Gogh. As he studied a print of Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night,” he realized that a song could be written about the artist through the painting.

“The more I thought about it, the more interesting and challenging the idea became. I put down the book and picked up my guitar, which was never far away, and started fiddling around, trying to get a handle on this idea, while the print of “Starry Night” stared up at me. Looking at the picture, I realized that the essence of the artist’s life is his art. And so, I let the painting write the song for me. Everyone is familiar with that painting.”
Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” during one of the most difficult periods of his life, while he was locked up in an asylum at Saint Remy. He had to paint the scene from memory, not outdoors as he preferred. Van Gogh mentioned “Starry Night” only twice in his letters to his brother, Theo. It is therefore one of the more mysterious and intriguing Van Gogh compositions.

The tremendous increase in value of Van Gogh’s works during the Seventies and Eighties may not have been caused by McLean’s song, but “Vincent” has become a permanent part of the Van Gogh legend.

Vincent was a bigger international hit than American Pie. In 1972, it reached number 1 in the UK and number 12 in the USA.

In recent years, the song has become even more well known thanks in part to Josh Groban’s successful version and to the song being sung by contestants on high profile shows such as American Idol and as a tribute to football legend George Best (making the UK top 3 in the process).

According to the movie “Tupac, the Resurrection,” Tupac Shakur was influenced by Don McLean, and his favorite song was “Vincent.” “Vincent”, along with “American Pie,” “And I Love You So,” and “Castles in the Air”, has been played over three million times on American radio.

Vincent Lyrics

vincent3 Starry starry night, paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day with eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills, sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills, in colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for you sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how, perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry starry night, flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue, morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

vincent4Chorus:
For they could not love you, but still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry starry night
You took your life as lovers often do,
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night, portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls with eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.
Like the stranger that you’ve met, the ragged man in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose, lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for you sanity How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will.

Vincent Slide Show

Vincent Charity Single

This tribute CD single is being released next Monday (26th Dec) in the UK and this Friday in Ireland. Track listing

1. You Raise Me Up – Brian Kennedy
2. The Long and Winding Road – Peter Corry
3. Bring Him Home/Vincent – Peter Corry/Brian Kennedy

See Brian Kennedy’s website for more info:

http://www.briankennedy.co.uk/hotoffthepress.html

These songs were sung at the funeral of former footballer George Best and the single is in aid of charities supporting alcoholism and liver disease. Best was an alcoholic who had a liver transplant four years ago. He died from complications arising from his alcoholism.

Brian Kennedy is Ireland’s entry in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest.

The single can be purchased online from HMV:

http://www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=280;-1;-1;-1&sku=457516

Don McLean elected to National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame

“Game Over, I Win.” After 40 years in the business. Don McLean’s reaction to being elected to the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

Famed for his perennial 1971 #1 classic “American Pie,” an elegiac eigindex_1ht-and-a-half minute folk-pop epic inspired by the tragic death of Buddy Holly, singer/songwriter Don McLean rose to fame through the folks clubs of New York City during the 60’s. His follow-up to “American Pie,” “Vincent’” was also a smash success, and McLean even became the subject of the Roberta Flack hit “Killing Me Softly With His Song;” however, to his credit, he refused to let the success of “American Pie” straitjacket his career. McLean enjoyed a renaissance with the 1980’s “Chain Lightning,” a Top 30 album, which spawned a Top Ten smash with its cover of Roy Orbison’s classic, “Crying,” and his original “Castles In The Air,” reaching the Top 40.

“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 index_2after 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.” Garth Brooks’ tribute as Don McLean is inaugurated into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, June 10th 2004.

Other inductees in 2004 were: Charles Fox, Al Green, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Barrett Strong & Norman Witfield.