A long, long time ago, Don McLean wrote the song that would define his life and career. You know the one I’m talking about. Hell, everybody knows. It’s American Pie. It’s his biggest hit by a country mile.
But it’s also much more than just a hit: McLean’s eight-minute folk-rock parable about the birth of rock ’n’ roll and the death of innocence is a cultural touchstone, a national treasure and one of the top five songs of the 20th century, according to a poll by the Recording Industry Association of America and the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. A lot of artists would be happy to rest on those laurels. But McLean is enjoying one of his busiest and most productive years. He just released the kids’ book American Pie, a fable inspired by the song. A documentary on the making of the tune is nearing completion, along with his new album. He recently got a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. And as always, he’s on the road playing American Pie, Vincent and his other hits for generations of fans. Recently, McLean got on the Zoom to talk about all those new projects, how many takes it took to cut American Pie, which classic song he wishes he had written, what’s on his bucket list and more.