Don McLean ‘American Pie’ Documentary, Tour Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Classic

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Don McLean released his iconic album American Pie in 1971. He’s celebrating the title cut with a big anniversary tour, 50 years after the title song reached #1 on the Billboard singles chart. The tour spans the U.S., U.K. and Europe in 2022. A documentary about the song, The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’, premieres on Paramount+ on July 19.

From the streaming service’s announcement: “McLean will, for the first time, reveal and share the secrets behind his iconic song. In addition, the documentary highlights cultural moments in America’s history that are as relevant now as they were in 1971, when the song was released.”

The documentary includes interviews with Brian Wilson and Garth Brooks, among others.

Back on Dec. 9, 2020, the singer-songwriter had revealed plans for a U.S. tour to begin 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, was to officially kick-off the American Pie 50th Anniversary World Tour. The plans were scuttled due to the pandemic; he played the legendary Iowa venue one year later than originally planned, with an 18-song set that included such Holly covers as “Not Fade Away” and “Everyday.”

Watch a local TV report of the historic performance

“They say time flies when you’re having fun and I guess that’s right,” says McLean. “I’ve had a fabulous life in music and the arts and got to see the world all because of that wonderful album and the many that followed. All because of my loyal fan base throughout the world.”

The song received an official lyric video on Nov. 10, 2021. The lyrics are sourced from what McLean considers the gospel, the original 1971 sheet music for the song down to the correct abbreviations and punctuation.

Watch the lyric video for “American Pie”

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 original tour announcement. “While writing ‘American Pie,’ I felt it was important to remember this incident that to me, was still fresh.”

Tickets for the tour are available here and here.

Don McLean American Pie 50th Anniversary 2022 Tour Dates

Jul 22 – Evansville, IN – Victory Theatre
Jul 23 – Springfield, IL – UIS PAC
Jul 29 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre
Jul 30 – Hammondsport, NY – Point of the Bluff Vineyards
Aug 19 – Nantucket, MA – Main Theater
Aug 20 – Oak Bluffs, MA – Martha’s Vineyard PAC
Sep 02 – Akron, OH – Goodyear Theater
Sep 03 – Shipshewana, IN – Blue Gate Music Hall

Sep 11 – Cardiff – St David’s
Sep 13 – Ipswich – Regent Theatre
Sep 14 – Birmingham – Symphony Hall
Sep 16 – Bath – Forum
Sep 17 – Torquay – Princess Theatre
Sep 18 – Bournemouth – Pavilion Theatre
Sep 20 – Brighton – Dome Concert Hall
Sep 21 – Southend – Cliffs Pavilion
Sep 23 – Manchester – Bridgewater Hall
Sep 24 – Gateshead – Sage
Sep 25 – Glasgow – Royal Concert Hall
Sep 27 – Edinburgh – Usher Hall
Sep 28 – York – Barbican
Sep 30 – Leicester – De Montfort Hall
Oct 01 – Sheffield – City Hall
Oct 02 – Liverpool – Philharmonic Hall
Oct 04 – London – Palladium
Oct 07 – Dublin – 3Arena

Oct 09 – Nijmegen, Holland – Concertgebouw de Vereeniging
Oct 10 – Amsterdam, Holland – Carre Theater
Oct 14 – Bergen, Norway – Peer Gynt Salen
Oct 15 – Stavanger, Norway – Kuppelhallen
Oct 16 – Oslo, Norway – Sentrum Scene
Oct 18 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Lorensbergsteatern
Oct 20 – Turku, Finland – Logomo
Oct 21 – Helsinki, Finland – Kuulttuuritalo
Oct 23 – Stockholm, Sweden – Gota Lejon
Oct 24 – Malmo, Sweden – Palladium
Oct 25 – Greve, Denmark – Portalen
Oct 27 – Hamburg, Germany – Fabrik
Oct 28 – Neuruppin, Germany – Kulturkirche
Oct 29 – Berlin, Germany – Admiralspalast
Nov 01 – Antwerp, Belgium – De Singel
Nov 12 – Munich, Germany – Prinzregententheater
Nov 13 – Linz, Austria – Posthof

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 76 in 2021. 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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2 Comments so far

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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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  2. Snortalopalus
    #2 Snortalopalus 10 November, 2021, 21:42

    You’re telling us that Don McLean can’t spell either “Lennon” or “Lenin”?

    Reply this comment

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