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New Documentary Showcases An ‘American Troubadour’

Above: American singer-songwriter Don McLean is the subject of a new PBS documentary, "Don McLean: American Troubadour," which airs this week.

Aired 3/5/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Don McLean, American singer-songwriter.


American singer-songwriter Don McLean has a career that spans more than 40 years and more than 300 songs. But if you only remember his big hits, like "American Pie" and "Vincent," he says that’s OK. He’s profoundly happy to have had those hits, which have become some of the most beloved songs written in the 20th Century.

Don McLean's
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Above: Don McLean's "American Pie" was selected as the fifth greatest song of the 20th century in a poll by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America.

McLean is the subject of a new PBS documentary, "Don McLean: American Troubadour," which shares his life story from his childhood memories in New Rochelle, New York, during the 50s to his rise to musical fame in the early 70s to his life today. At age 66, McLean is still performing for audiences around the world, and he will be making a tour stop in San Diego on May 12 at Sycuan Casino.

While his name may be forever associated with his biggest hit "American Pie," the documentary reveals that McLean achieved more than just a few big hits and that his influence runs deep. Did you know that "Killing Me Softly with His Song" (most famously recorded by Roberta Flack) was inspired by him? Or that his song "Jerusalem" was composed for that city at the request of its mayor? And that rapper Tupac Shakur was a huge fan, particularly of his song "Vincent"?

For more Don McLean trivia, visit his personal website and watch "Don McLean: American Troubadour," which airs this week on KPBS television.


Don McLean: Childhood Memories

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