There was a lot of talk in the media about the song American Pie last week. When I was a young teenager it was hard to find a record collection that didn't include the album American Pie by Don McLean (along with Bridge over troubled waters by Simon and Garfunkel). I eventually bought a copy myself having already fallen for the title track and Vincent played on the radio as singles.
American Pie was McLean's second studio album. It was recorded and came out in 1971 and was a great success. The album comes out of a folk background but was dedicated to Buddy Holly, whose 1959 death kicks off the ten year history that informs the fascinating title track.
The album is evidently supposed to be a unified whole but it has great variety - from the banjo backed multi vocal version of Psalm 136 through the stark Vietnam protest song The grave to the jaunty and ironic Everybody loves me. I like pretty much all the tracks, especially Empty Chairs said to have inspired Killing me softly the song about McLean sung by Roberta Flack (the composer Lori Lieberman denies this).