CLEARWATER — Don McLean will perform Saturday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m., at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.
Tickets start at $42.50. Visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
McLean is a Grammy Award honoree, a Songwriter Hall of Fame member, and a BBC Lifetime Achievement award recipient. His smash hit “American Pie” resides in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry and was named by the Recording Industry of America a Top 5 song of the 20th century.
A New York native, McLean is one of the most revered and respected songwriters in American history. After paying his dues in the New York club scene in the late 1960s, he went on to score mega-hits like “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air” and many more. His catalog of songs has been recorded by Madonna, Garth Brooks, Josh Groban, Drake, Weird “Al” Yankovic and countless others.
In 2004, McLean was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by artists from every musical genre. Madonna’s recording of “American Pie” reached No. 1 in 2000. George Michael covered “The Grave” in 2003.
In 2009, McLean released “Addicted to Black.” At the time, it was his first album of original material in 14 years. He wrote all the tracks on the album except for “Lovers Love the Spring,” which is a poem by William Shakespeare.
In 2018, McLean followed up with another new album. “Botanical Gardens,” released via BMG, is McLean’s 19th studio album and is arguably one of his most reflective to date.
McLean’s prowess for writing timeless songs is once again captured on “Botanical Gardens” as he artfully weaves country, Americana, folk, and boot-stomping rock for an eclectic, yet American sound that he is known for.
“The inspiration for the project started years ago when I would walk in the beautiful gardens in Sydney, Australia, near the Opera House,” McLean said. “I would dream young dreams and it was a comfort and an inspiration. I was always young inside, like we all are, and I felt it again there.”
Intimacy can be found at the heart of this record, with McLean penning personal numbers looking back on a life well-lived, as well as his observations on youth and love. Recording at Watershed Studios in Nashville also allowed a different kind of intimacy for McLean and his band, as they were made to “play close and feel the music,” resulting in a raw, yet tight sound throughout.
“The whole album really revolves around the title song,” McLean said. “Later on, I realized that the gardens are really a metaphorical heaven, and there’s a kind of death and rebirth.”
In 2019, McLeann was honored with a star on the Las Vegas Walkway of Stars and his song “And I Love You So” was the theme for Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding. Earlier this year, McLean signed a recording contract with Time Life/Warner Bros. Records to release his catalog of recordings as well as the much anticipated new album “Still Playin’ Favorites,” which will be released this fall. “American Pie” will be featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Black Widow” and in the Tom Hanks movie “BIOS.”
In 2021, McLean will mark the 50th anniversary of “American Pie” with a world tour.