Significant Songs (194/195)

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.

57 thoughts on “Significant Songs (194/195)

  1. Hi Pete. This was one of the first albums I bought in high school and was huge in Australia for its witty political tunefullness. I saw him at a free concert in Sydney’s Hyde Park in 1975. He was a really nice guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m having wordpress issues today Pete: I can’t see posts on my ipad: so I’m currently looking at this on my phone and can’t see the videos because of that. But the plus side is: I won’t have the songs stuck in my head lol. Still loved the post Pete 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for replying so late Pete. It turns out it wasn’t a WordPress issue but an Ipad issue. Evertything is luckily back to normal again now, so I plan to catch up with your posts tomorrow 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, I had the “American Pie” album back then. I still have a number of 1970’s albums in my closet, and wonder if this is one of them, or whether someone else got his/her hands on it. I’ll have to check. Anyway, I loved these two songs. I remember at the time, I was also still listening to the “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” album. I think my sister had purchased that one. …And by the way, the lyrics are great!

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I meant chestnuts like off the Chestnut tree–the staples or classics. Like mentioning plays and any Shakespeare play has to be mentioned.
            My mind went to the gutter and I wonder if chestnuts mean something different to you? πŸ˜‰

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Bye bye Miss American pie. drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry…..them good old boys were drinking whisky and rye singing this ‘ill be the day that I die……….

    A truly great one Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One day, Pete, I must go through all of your significant songs. You make such great choices and frequently remind me of songs I’d loved but had allowed to drift off my radar. That’s not the case with these two – outstanding tracks, outstanding albums, never off the radar. My absolute favourite track from that album was ‘The Grave’. Still haunts me now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We love these two songs. Vincent has always been my husband’s favourite song and he sang it as a lullaby to our daughter every day for weeks from the day she was born. Unsurprisingly, one of her first words was β€˜star’. Thank you for your post. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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