Don McLean | York Barbican

Don McLean to Return to York Barbican

06 Oct 2017

The legendary American singer-songwriter Don McLean has announced his 2018 UK tour, including a date at York Barbican.

Don McLean began in folk music, performing free on behalf of Pete Seeger’s efforts to clean up the Hudson River. His first album had been turned down by several labels because of his insistence on retaining his own publishing, but his debut album, Tapestry, was issued on Media Arts in 1970.

His second album, American Pie, included the irresistibly catchy title track and was said to have been inspired by the death of Buddy Holly, but also a sentimental song about America that could be embraced by everybody as the USA reeled from Vietnam and Watergate. The track was number one for seven weeks and even pulled the first LP into the charts.  

In 2004, Don McLean was inaugurated into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His award was presented by Garth Brooks who paid the following tribute, “Don McLean his work, like the man himself is very deep and very compassionate. His pop anthem American Pie is a cultural phenomenon, and people are still trying to decode it after 35 years! He wrote other great songs like, And I Love You So, If We Try, Wonderful Baby, Winterwood, and my personal favourite Empty Chairs, which just kills me as a fan and a songwriter.”

Since then, he's performed Don performed on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011, and in 2012 Don was awarded the BBC Folk Music Lifetime Achievement Award and performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A busy year also saw the release of American Troubadour and a full-colour coffee table book biography of the same name. The DVD charting Don’s life and career has subsequently been broadcast on TV worldwide (regularly on Sky Arts in the UK).

In 2014 Don performed for 30,000 at the Stagecoach Festival – one of the premier country music events in the US. According to the Daily News “the audience went wild, screaming, jumping, dancing. Even after the song was over, the audience still lingered, basking in the afterglow of the performance”.