Don McLean Celebrating 50th Anniversary of ‘American Pie’ With Tour, Book

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Don McLean released his iconic album American Pie in 1971. He still expects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the title cut with a big 2021 tour, but the pandemic has prevented him from scheduling it. Some of the plans, though, are able to proceed.

On Feb. 3, to commemorate “The Day the Music Died,” he shared a new performance of the classic title track, sung with all-vocal group, Home Free. Watch the video below.

The legendary singer-songwriter was scheduled to perform at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 3, 2021. The historic concert was to honor Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper on the 62nd anniversary of the 1959 plane crash that killed the American rock ‘n’ roll musicians. The concert, at the same venue where those legends performed for the last time, and postponed due to the pandemic, was to officially kick-off the American Pie 50th Anniversary World Tour. It will ultimately take McLean to Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and many more places to come.

He’s also announced a children’s book, American Pie: A Fable, inspired by the song, coming Sept. 15 via Backbeat Books. From the announcement: The book weave’s themes from the iconic song with experiences from McLean’s early life and, in true “American Pie” form, offers meaningful elements open to interpretation. The book is the story of a newspaper delivery boy in the late ’50s who discovers the joy of friendship and music, eventually learning that when you recognize what truly makes you happy, you’re never really alone.

The 48-page book contains 40 illustrations by Yoko Matsuoka.

“I am really excited to see the reaction from people about this book,” he says. “We have all read many children’s books to our kids and I am hoping this one stands up to the greatness of others we have put our kids to sleep with.”

Most can recite McLean’s eight-and-a-half minute 1971 single by heart. It was written to honor the legacies of the early rock legends who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash.

“February 3, 1959 was a tragic day for all of us who lost our heroes in that plane crash,” said McLean in the December 9 announcement. “While writing ‘American Pie,’ I felt it was important to remember this incident that to me, was still fresh.”

A handful of dates are already scheduled. Tickets for the tour will be available here.

Don McLean American Pie 50th Anniversary Tour Dates

Date TBA – Clear Lake, IA – Surf Ballroom and Museum
Jul 02 – Ocean City, NJ – Ocean City Music Pier
Jul 03 – Selbyville, DE – The Freeman Stage at Bayside
Jul 15 – Honolulu, HI – Blue Note Hawaii
Jul 16 – Honolulu, HI – Blue Note Hawaii
Jul 17 – Honolulu, HI – Blue Note Hawaii

Watch McLean’s new performance of “American Pie” with Home Free

Of the new performance, McLean told The Tennessean, “Any song which has a legitimate melody lends itself to an a cappella rendition. The guys in Home Free just did their thing and did a tremendous job at it, too.”

Watch McLean perform the song live in 1972

McLean was born Oct. 2, 1945, and turned 75 in 2020. He is a Grammy award honoree, a Songwriters Hall of Fame member, a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. “American Pie” resides in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry and was named one of the top five songs of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry of America.

In 2015, one of the New York native’s four handwritten manuscripts of the lyrics to “American Pie” was auctioned by Christies, selling for just over $1.2 million.

Related: The story behind “American Pie”

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  1. Steven
    #1 Steven 11 March, 2021, 17:41

    Hey that video was shot in Alamogordo New Mexico. am I not correct, I am from there and I recognize the school I recognized it on the mountain. why was Alamogordo shows for this video?

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