Don McLean – The Best of Don McLean
Perhaps it is a bit cliché to grab for “American Pie” when a rock and roller passes away, but this song still has deep resonance. Sadly as of late, there have been a few days when we could easily say this is “the day the music died.” The song (and album) was released in 1971 and is in part inspired by, and a tribute to the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson (The Big Bopper).
It is one of those rare songs that we absolutely cherish… It comforts and soothes us, and makes us reminisce, and whenever it comes on the radio, you may just have to sit in your car until it is over. Talk about truly growing up with something.
I did not have any McLean albums other than this one, which is a bit of a shame because he actually has a lot of really good songs… but this was and will always be his masterpiece. Well… one might argue that he actually had a few masterpeices, and they are right here.
“Vincent” is another truly beautiful song and a tribute to Vincent van Gogh (van gaaaaaahhhcccckkk) and his painting The Starry Night. This was a huge, worldwide hit for him.
“And I Love You So” is just a great love song and was covered by Elvis Presley… That ain’t bad!
Then he covers Roy Orbison with a very slow version of “Crying,” another international hit for him.
“Castles in the Air” is one of my favorite tunes of his, and is so filled with longing and yearning.
Something kind of cool that I discovered was that the song “Killing Me Softly With His Song” was written ABOUT Don McLean and his song “Empty Chairs.” I definitely need to give that one a listen.
And of course, every nice Jewish boy digs his rocking song “Dreidel.”
“I feel like a spinning top or a dreidel. The spinning don’t stop when you leave the cradle. You just slow down.”
Especially with all that is going on, life most certainly is twisting and turning and spinning… Sometimes out of control. But music like this slows us down… calms us down… and makes life a whole lot better.
So start with a nice slice of American Pie, but then explore Don McLean a little deeper.