American Pie/ Vincent
I don’t often feature two songs from one singer, but these are two great songs, and are from the same album. In 1971, American Don McClean released his second album, ‘American Pie’. It got a lot of attention, and was loved by critics and record buyers equally. The two hit singles released from it both got to the top ten, and were popular all over the world.
I never bought the album then, and never have since. But I bought both of these unusual and compelling singles, and still enjoy hearing them forty-seven years later. ‘American Pie’ was unique. An amazing tribute to modern music and American history, with unusual construction, great lyrics, and also very well performed by Don. Despite being unusually long for a single, (8:30) it got played on the radio in its entirety by every radio station around at the time. It was covered by Madonna in 2000, and a new audience was introduced to the genius of this special song.
The next huge hit from the album was another unusual song, a tribute to the artist Vincent Van Gogh. I couldn’t think of anyone who had written a ballad about an artist before, and it seemed to be an unlikely subject. But what a song! I never met anyone who didn’t like it, and we all strangely related to it, even without knowing why. McClean had something special as a songwriter, I was left in no doubt of that.
Don is still working, writing and performing. He may never have maintained the world-wide fame he had following these two songs, but he has loyal fans, and his wonderful songs have endured for decades.