Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Don McLean

Ep. 84 - Don McLean

American Pie: The Folk/Rock Legend


Scott & Paul reveal the longest and shortest songs to ever hit #1

PART TWO - 5:45 mark
91-year-old Phil Springer comments on how songwriting eras change

PART THREE - 12:07 mark
Scott & Paul's in-depth conversation with Don McLean

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WARNING: explicit content

Scott & Paul catch up with the folk/rock legend who explains why his songwriting process is like tuning a radio antenna to the right frequency; how he ended up making friends with some of his early musical heroes thanks to the phone book; the reason he thinks of himself as a contrarian; what he thinks of Nashville; which of his songs was an an unlikely favorite of Tupac Shakur's; and what "American Pie" was making fun of.   

Best known as the writer and performer of “American Pie,” Don McLean and his songs have hit the Billboard pop, country, and adult contemporary charts nearly twenty times. Staples of his catalog include “Vincent (Starry Starry Night),” which hit #12 in the US and landed at the top of the UK chart; “Castles in the Air,” which charted twice with different versions in 1971 and 1981; and “And I Love You So,” which was covered by Bobby Goldsboro, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Glen Campbell and Elvis Presley. McLean’s compositions have been covered by Madonna, Fred Astaire, James Blake, Chet Atkins, Garth Brooks, George Michael, Harry Connick Jr., Josh Groban, Ed Sheeran, and others.

He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the BBC Folk Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. “American Pie” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 and was named one of the Top 5 Songs of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

McLean has recorded nineteen studio albums. His most recent is Botanical Gardens.

Songcraft's Don McLean Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy over an hour of Don's original songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.