Don McLean Newcastle City Hall 1980

Don McLean Newcastle City Hall 1980 dontix American Pie is an epic song in several senses. The album version runs at an incredible 8 minutes, although it was shortened to four minutes for the single release. Much has been written about the meaning of its cryptic lyrics, with the general consensus seeming to be that the song is about the tragic death of McLean’s hero Buddy Holly in a plane crash. McLean has been reluctant to explain the song’s meaning and is on record as joking: “It means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to.” or more seriously “You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me…. Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.”. donmclean
My enduring memory of the song is seeing Don McLean perform it at the Lincoln Festival in 1972. The weather at the festival was awful, and the heavens opened during Don’s set. However when he sang this song the rain stopped, almost as if by magic, and we all sang along.
I saw Don McLean again in 1980 at a concert at Newcastle City Hall. The tour was to support a “Greatest Hits” compilation and the support act was local folk trio Prelude. As well as “American Pie” you could be sure that Don McLean would sing his other hits “Vincent” and “Crying”, as well as less known, but just as beautiful, songs like “And I Love You So” and “Castles in the Air”. He would also include one or two Buddy Holly songs such as “Everyday”, perhaps some Elvis or Bob Dylan, and some rock’n’roll. donprog From the programme: “Don McLean is without doubt one of the most influential singer songwriters in the history of popular music. He has inspired many of his contemporaries and his classic song “American Pie” (released in 1971) has become a perennial on radio all-time Top Ten request lists. Another song “Vincent” – which is played every single day at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Holland – was cited recently by Stevie Wonder as one of his all-time favourites. And another – “And I Love You So” – has become a standard. It is also one of the most sung and recorded songs in history with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Helen Reddy leading the way.”
Thanks to John for the scan of an early tour programme. The lower image is the front cover of the 1980 UK tour programme.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by dawn on November 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Would liked to have seen Don in his earlier days did not get to see him until glasto 2011 and missed most of his set.


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