Don McLean

Beginning his career on the 1960s folk club circuit in New York City, singer-songwriter Don McLean was initially recognized through his work with Pete Seeger. During this time, Seeger was spearheading his campaign to clean up New York's Hudson River aboard the sloop Clearwater and McLean sailed up and down the eastern seaboard with him to help promote environmental causes. However, it wasn't until several years later that Don McLean would hit big with "American Pie", the sprawling, impressionistic ballad that would come to represent an entire generation and ultimately define McLean's career. What many don't remember is that this monumental song and Bill Graham's closing of the Fillmores are intrinsically linked. In fact, "American Pie" received its debut airplay on June 26, 1971 on WPLJ FM, on the eve of the station simulcasting the closing night festivities at Fillmore East. The song's lyrical content struck an obvious nerve with the generation that frequented the Fillmores, representing the ending of an era. Over the course of the 1970s, McLean also became an accomplished guitar player, exploring a wide variety of styles, singing with a fluid level of expression and a touching sincerity that would bring him great success. McLean knew a great deal about American music and his own music spanned the breadth of pop, folk, and country and even occasionally dabbled in driving rock now and then.

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