Music

Don McLean gets Hollywood star as ‘American Pie’ hits 50

Don McLean speaks during an interview in New York, March 23, 2018. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

LOS ANGELES: Singer-songwriter Don McLean got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday, marking the 50th anniversary of his classic single “American Pie.”

McLean, 75, recalled how the almost nine-minute-long song about the loss of innocence in the rock generation had come to define his career and be sung at key moments in US cultural life.

“At the turn of the century, I was invited to the Clinton White House. I sang in front of 600,000 people in front of the reflecting pool as you look at the Washington Monument, and they were all singing ‘American Pie’ the last day of that millennium,” McLean said. “I’ve had some wonderful experiences.”

McLean’s star was the 2,700th on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was placed strategically outside The Piehole Shop on Hollywood Boulevard.

“American Pie” was released in October 1971 and spent weeks on the charts in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

The song features in the movie “Black Widow,” Madonna released a cover version in 2000, and “Weird Al” Yankovic recorded a parody version in 1999 inspired by the “Star Wars” films.

“As far as pop songs go, ‘American Pie’ is about as sacred as it gets,” Yankovic said at Monday’s ceremony. “Thankfully, Don McLean has a fantastic sense of humor and he very graciously gave his blessing on my parody.”

“Thank you,” Yankovic added, “for all the incredible music you’ve given us over the years.”

“American Pie” makes numerous cryptic cultural allusions to 1960s figures ranging from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan.

The lyrics were sold at auction in New York in 2015 for $1.2 million and McLean wrote in notes for the auction sale catalogue that the song was about life “heading in the wrong direction” and “becoming less idyllic.”

 

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