Music Monday: October 3, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to October and another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Yesterday marked birthday number 77 for the man who gave us one of the greatest musical anthems of all time. Don McLean, the singer & songwriter behind the 1971 smash, “American Pie”, was born October 2, 1945 in New Rochelle, New York. He developed a love for music early in his life and by his teenage years he was learning to play guitar while finding his voice. After the enormous success of his biggest hit, McLean earned his indelible place in music history. Today he is performing on his 50th anniversary tour and paying tribute to Veterans along the way (see his website for more details).

I am a big fan of so much of his music. from songs he has written himself (“And I Love You So”, “Castles In The Air” and “Vincent”) to the incredible covers he has done (“Crying” and “Since I Fell For You”). But it is today’s song, also from the “American Pie” album released 51 years ago this month, that is my absolute favorite. It may not have the pagentry or imagery of his most recognized track, but it is yet another moving tale told through McLean’s gift for introspective poetry. I list it in the “it-is-so-beautiful-it-hurts” category because my heart just aches every time I hear it. But in such an undeniably good way.

From the gentle piano arranmgement to the pensive yet ultimately hopeful lyrics to the understated but moving vocal performance, McLean delivers a tale of finding out he ended up exactly where he was supposed to be all along, despite how many wrong turns he thought he made. And we are all so incredibly lucky that his road met ours and took us on the path that included such an immense talent as his. Happy birthday, Don McLean.

“But I’m all tied up on the inside
No one knows quite what I’ve got
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be I’m not anymore”.

You know I’ve heard about people like me
But I never made the connection
They walk one road to set them free
And find they’ve gone the wrong direction

Don McLean circa 1971

Don McLean circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don McLean: “Crossroads” (1971, written by Don McLean).

Stay safe and well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 448

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

June 2021 blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

All the music released in 1971 is turning 50 this year. Along with powerhouse albums like Carole King’s Tapestry (released February 10, 1971 Day 331), Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On (released May 21, 1971 Day 431) and John Lennon’s Imagine (released September 9, 1971), Don McLean’s American Pie (Day 107) was released October 24, 1971. In addition to the exquisite title track, the record included the heartbreakingly beautiful “Crossroads” (Day 43) and today’s gorgeous track recorded earlier that year on June 7,

It is another example of McLean’s wonderful gift of intricate storytelling combined with a sparse yet undeniably elegant and stunning arrangement. He holds his audience captive hanging on every word, every note, every breath. His voice has a calm & soothing quality with a subtle use of range and power in just the right places.

As one artist telling the story of another, he holds the subject of the song in the highest regard. And the introduction of the strings in the last minute of the track brings even more elegance to an already opulent piece of music. Even without the story about “the day the music died”, Don McLean’s talent & place in music history is undeniable.

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

McLean 1971

Don McLean circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don McLean: “Vincent” (1971, written by Don McLean).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.