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Don McLean Talks His Iconic Song And Performing In Las Vegas

Don McLean American Pie
Don McLean/NPR

Don McLean's iconic American Pie album cover. Years after the song was a hit, he still tours the country and is in Las Vegas.

In the early 1970s, the song, “American Pie,” became a worldwide number one hit.

And, if you listen to classic rock on the radio today, the song is never far away. “American Pie” crosses musical borders.

The writer and singer of this great song told KNPR’s State of Nevada that he continues to be surprised by the success of the song.

Earlier this year, the scratch notes McLean made when writing the tune sold for $1.2 million at auction.

At the turn of the century, "American Pie" was number five on the list of the top 365 songs of the 20th Century, surpassed only by "Over the Rainbow," "White Christmas," "This Land is Your Land," and "Respect." 

"You can't image how that made me feel," McLean said, "In way, without trying really, it has put me in another pantheon in a sense." 

McLean will be playing that iconic song and his other hits this weekend at the Orleans Hotel-Casino with Judy Collins.

McLean once played at colleges and war rallies during his early years, but started playing in casinos about 10 or 15 years ago.

"Some how my music seems to resonated with people who like to gamble and sometimes lose," McLean said.


Don McLean, singer and songwriter

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Since June 2015, Fred has been a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada.