Don McLean, the famous singer known for his iconic hit “American Pie,” was born on October 2, 1945, in New Rochelle, New York. His song “American Pie” gained immense recognition and was even named one of the Top 5 Songs of the 20th Century in a poll conducted by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. From a young age, McLean developed a passion for music and would spend hours listening to the radio and records. As a teenager, he decided to pursue a career in music and never looked back.
Despite his dedication to music, McLean also recognized the importance of education. In 1968, he earned a BA in finance with a minor in philosophy from Iona College. That same year, he released his first album, “Tapestry,” which garnered positive reviews and some commercial success. The album marked a turning point in McLean’s career, propelling him from relative obscurity to an underground sensation. Songs like “Castles in the Air” and “And I Love You So” became hits from the album.
In 1971, McLean achieved superstar status with the release of his second studio album, “American Pie.” The titular song, which became a folk-rock “cultural touchstone,” topped the Billboard chart and held that position for eight weeks, solidifying McLean’s place in music history. For almost half a century, “American Pie” held the record as the longest song to reach No. 1. However, in November 2021, the record was broken by Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).” Despite losing the record, McLean expressed admiration for Swift’s talent and expressed gratitude for being surpassed by another great singer-songwriter.
“American Pie” received four Grammy nominations and was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. McLean himself was also recognized for his songwriting skills and was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2004. Throughout his career, he has continued to perform and tour, showcasing his enduring talent and passion for music.