Don McLean debuts ‘American Pie’ lyric video for 50th anniversary

Video uses original 1971 sheet music

Don McLean’s 1971 masterpiece American Pie was released 50 years ago on October 24, 1971. Both the song “American Pie” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent four weeks at there in the first two months of 1972. The album also went to No. 1 for three consecutive weeks in January 1972. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, UMe has created an official lyric video with McLean. The lyrics are sourced from what he considers the gospel, the original 1971 sheet music for the song down to the correct abbreviations and punctuation.

“This video is the first step in a promotion program by my label to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the album and single ‘American Pie.’ This promises to be a lot of fun and I look forward to everything they have planned. Thank you UMe,” shares McLean.

Recorded at The Record Plant in the late spring of 1971, American Pie was issued as a double A-side single in November 1971 and charted within a month. Interest from the media and public sent the single to No. 1 in the US and McLean to international superstardom. Every line of the song was analyzed time and time again to find the real meaning but McLean refused to acknowledge any of the interpretations, only adding to its mystery.

His second single, “Vincent”, charted on March 18, 1972 going on to reach No. 12 in the US and No. 1 in the UK. The American Pie album remained at No. 1 in the UK for seven weeks in 1972, and in the UK charts for 53 consecutive weeks. It contained not only the iconic chart-topping title cut, but also the hit single “Vincent,” a tribute to artist Vincent van Gogh, that climbed to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also topped the charts in the UK.

American Pie was McLean’s second disc, following his 1970 debut Tapestry. But after the success of American Pie, Tapestry was reissued by United Artists and charted in the US on February 12, 1972 reaching No. 111 and the top 15 in the UK. It includes two of McLean’s hits, “And I Love You So” and “Castles in the Air.”

A New York native, McLean went on to become one of the most-revered and respected singer-songwriters of his generation. Future hits following “American Pie” included “Dreidel,” “Castles In The Air,” and “Wonderful Baby.” He also paid tribute to Roy Orbison’s influence with a 1980 hit recording of “Crying.”

In 2017, American Pie was remastered from the original analog tape and lacquers cut both at Capitol Studios in Hollywood and released on vinyl.

In 2022, McLean will hit the road for the 50th Anniversary American Pie World Tour 2022 US Tour. While the trek kicks off in January with three shows in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first stop in the Lower 48 will be at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, on “The Day The Music Died,” February 3, 2022. This historic night will honor Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and The Big Bopper as it marks the 63rd anniversary of the 1950 plane crash that killed the American rock ‘n’ roll musicians. The date and venue were set as the kickoff to the American Pie 50th Anniversary World Tour in 2021, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email:
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