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McLean’s Insights Shared Exclusively in Interviews with PEOPLE and Daily Mail UK, Ahead of His Noteworthy Visit to the White House

McLean To Headline The Long Road Festival (UK) In August

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Don McLean, GRAMMY winner, Songwriter Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame, and Music City Walk of Fame honoree, is proud to celebrate the release of his latest album American Boys (Friday, 5/17) an ode to the originators of modern rock ‘n roll.

McLean arrived in New York Sunday, May 19th, to make rounds with media to discuss his latest album effort, plus his invitation to join Kenyan President William Ruto at the White House for a State Dinner Thursday, May 23rd in Washington.

Don McLean is not one to shy away from controversial topics – and has been known to speak his mind on frequent occasions. McLean was recently quoted as saying Prince Harry should ‘shut his mouth’ in response to the UK royal’s disdain of the popular Graceland mansion, home to Elvis Presley, aka ‘The King of Rock ‘N Roll’ as discussed by Daily Mail UK.

Stateside, McLean talked with PEOPLE about the new album:

“I’m not interested necessarily in big numbers. That’s not romantic,” the “American Pie” singer tells PEOPLE over the phone from his home in Palm Springs, Calif. “In fact, when I got successful, I think it took a lot of the romance out of my career. I want to be thrilled. I don’t want to be in a stodgy, taken for granted, dead relationship either with my music or with another person.”

In his new album, ‘American Boys,’ McLean sings tributes to his heroes, including Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and many more, while also drawing inspiration from former King of England Henry VIII and the late George Floyd.

McLean will release a lyric video, ‘The Ballad of George Floyd,’ in which he recalls the unfortunate incident that took the life of a Minneapolis man in the summer of 2020, provoking widespread rioting across the U.S. and abroad. The video will be released across McLean’s social channels on the anniversary of Floyd’s passing, Friday, May 25th.

“When I heard about George Floyd calling for his mother, I said, ‘A man calling for his mother is not going to be that dangerous,'” he says. “That spoke to my heart and allowed me to write ‘The Ballad of George Floyd.’ When you’re up against it, you call for your mother.”

“When I was young, I had to fight asthma and pneumonia, and I nearly died a few times,” he says. “I learned to be a fighter. My mother, God bless her, I would be so sick that she gave me a baseball bat when I was 8 or 6 or 7, and she said, ‘If you can’t breathe, just pound this on the floor, and I’ll wake up and come and help you.’ I would call for my mother in the middle of the night, and I would be crying, and I couldn’t breathe, and she’d change the bed, and I’m sweating, and it’s awful. Awful. I’ve had an uphill fight my whole life for everything.”

For more of McLean’s exclusive PEOPLE interview, read HERE.

Across the pond, Daily Mail UK elicited this response from the author of one of the ‘Top 5 Songs of the 20th Century’ (RIAA/NEACBSCNN) regarding Prince Harry’s dislike of the Graceland mansion:

“He doesn’t understand that Elvis is like the poor man’s king. He came from nowhere, and his recordings are among the greatest ever made. His family were as poor as they could be, and Harry criticized Elvis’s home as if he’s comparing it to Buckingham Palace, and that misses the point completely. Here’s a fellow who has been brought up to be mannerly, but you don’t criticize America when you’re living here as our guest.”

Don adds of the prince, who recently listed the US as his primary residence, ‘He just doesn’t get America.’

Read McLean’s Daily Mail UK interview in its entirety HERE.

It’s worth noting that Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan Markle, had McLean’s song “And I Love You So” performed at their royal wedding reception six years ago today (May 19, 2018). The song was popularized by Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll.

To listen to the American Boys album, visit orcd.co/DonMcLeanAmericanBoys. A limited number of signed vinyl albums is also available for purchase from donmclean.com.

‘American Boys’ Track Listing:
“American Boys” (Feat. Home Free)*
“Thunderstorm Girl”*
“Stone Cold Gangster”
“Truth And Fame”*
“The Gypsy Road”*
“I Shall Find My Way*”
“Mexicali Gal”
“Vacant Luxury”
“The Ballad Of George Floyd” (lyric video releases May 25th)
“The Meanest Girl”
“Marley’s Song (Save Yourself)”
“Resurrection Man”*
“Gotta Make You Mine” (Bonus Track)

Vocals and Acoustic Guitar: Don McLean
Electric and Acoustic Guitar: Michael Severs
Piano and Hammond B3: Dennis Wage
Piano and String Arrangements: Tony Migliore
Drums: Jerry Kroon
Bass: Alison Prestwood
Electric and Slide Guitar: Vip Vipperman
Electric Guitar: Kerry Marx
Background Vocals: Don McLean and Home Free
Written by Don McLean (Don McLean Music UMPG/BMI)
*Written by Don McLean and Vip Vipperman (Don McLean Music UMPG/BMI, Big Vip Songs /UMPG ASCAP)

As part of a new distribution deal with BFD/Audium Nashville, sixteen of Don McLean’s albums, which have been newly remastered, will be re-released, including ‘Prime Time,’ ‘Chain Lightning,’ ‘Believers,’ ‘Greatest Hits Live!,’ ‘Don McLean Sings Marty Robbins,’ ‘The Western Album,’ and more.

Don McLean continues to tour, bringing his music to venues worldwide! McLean recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic songs in history, “American Pie,” proving that “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie” will forever remain a classic staple in music. In March, he recently performed the record-breaking hit along with “American Boys” for an ecstatic audience at Nashville’s famed Grand Ole Opry – his debut performance at the legendary venue.

The Long Road Festival, the UK’s premiere country, Americana & roots experience, recently announced McLean as the Saturday headliner, highlighting his only UK appearance for 2024. The news was featured in Holler., Maverick Magazine, Metro, Daily Express, Americana UK, and more! For more information, visit thelongroad.com.

Upcoming Tour Dates include:
JUN 09 – Tower Theatre / Bend, Ore.
JUN 14 – Boot Barn Hall of Bourbon Brothers / Colorado Springs, Colo.
JUN 29 – Vienna Freedom Festival / Vienna, W.Va.
JUL 13 – American Bank Center Selena Auditorium / Corpus Christi, Texas
JUL 20 – Boot Barn Hall / Gainesville, Ga.
JUL 28 – Belly Up / Solana Beach, Calif.
AUG 09 – The Canyon / Montclair, Calif.
AUG 10 – Libbey Bowl / Ojai, Calif.
AUG 24 – The Long Road Festival / Stanford Hall, Leicestershire
(UK)
SEP 04 – Wachholz College Center / Kalispell, Mont.
NOV 01 – Grand Theater / Wausau, Wisc.
NOV 09 – Silver Creek Event Center at Four Winds Casino / New
Buffalo, Mich.
NOV 30 – The Parker / Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
DEC 06 – Tarrytown Music Hall / Tarrytown, N.Y.
DEC 07 – Landsdowne Theater / Lansdowne, Pa.
DEC 13 – The Birchmere / Alexandria, Va.
DEC 20 – Hawaii Theatre / Honolulu, Hawaii

Over the years, music icons like Madonna and Garth Brooks have repeatedly covered the song. Rapper Drake often sampled McLean’s tunes, and hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur cited him as an essential influence.

The legendary and still active singer/songwriter has had a significant career, selling over 50 million albums worldwide. Among other things, Don McLean has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021), was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame (2022), received a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Fame (2019) and the Nashville Walk of Fame (2023), and was recently the focus of a Paramount+ documentary The Day The Music Died. There’s no slowing down for this troubadour!

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About Don McLean:
Don 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 a Top 5 Song of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA). A New York native, Don 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 2015, McLean’s handwritten manuscript of “American Pie” lyrics was auctioned by Christie’s, selling for just over $1.2 Million. 2019 honored Don 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. Don landed a new recording contract with Time Life in 2020, with whom he released a catalog of recordings and a new album Still Playin’ Favorites. In 2021, Don’s “American Pie” was featured in the Avengers’ Black Widow and the Tom Hanks movie Finch. McLean received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated the 50th anniversary of “American Pie,” and recorded a version of the song with a cappella group Home Free. In 2022, McLean received six Telly Awards for his collaboration with international heavyweight Tyson Fury, released American Pie: A Fable children’s book, and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. In 2023, the Telly award-winning documentary The Day The Music Died was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. In unexpected news, President Yoon of South Korea sang “American Pie” for a delighted audience of White House guests in Washington, D.C. McLean was inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame during a public ceremony along with Darius Rucker, Joe Galante, and Duane Eddy in Nashville, Tennessee. His latest album, ‘American Boys,’ was released on May 17, 2024.

For more information, visit donmclean.com.