Bye, bye, Miss American Pie...

american pie album cover don mcleanThe Post-Star's Tom Dimopoulos had a fun article over the weekend about Saratoga-area legends, including the famous one about how Don McLean supposedly wrote "American Pie" at the Tin 'n' Lint on Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs, and then first performed it at Caffe Lena:

In most re-tellings, McLean was in town for a performance at Caffe Lena and had wandered into the Tin & Lint, where he spent the night alternately drinking and scribbling phrases like "American Pie" and "drove my Chevy to a levy" on a series of bar napkins, which were forgotten about and abandoned during the course of the evening, but rescued by one of the workers at the Tin & Lint that night.

So, is it true? Dimopoulos actually talked with Don McLean about the story -- and the musician had a definitive answer about whether it's correct.

(Thanks, spiritoflife!)

image via Wikipedia


I read the Post-Star piece and didn't find it fun at all. Living in Saratoga, I like the idea that "American Pie" was written here. The Dimopoulos piece had some Don McLean quotes that debunked this assumption but didn't probe at all into the details. I actually did not realize Dimopoulos had interviewed him and assumed it had been picked up from a wire transcript, otherwise wouldn't Dimopoulos have been more inquisitive as a reporter?

It reminded me of a famous Bob and Ray show from many decades ago where a clueless radio interviewer is getting the facts on cranberry cultivation while there is a bank robbery going on in the background.

Anyway, if you read the piece, Don McLean after all these years really seems to have it in for Saratoga. How come? That's the real story, waiting to be written.

Nuthin' to add to the story...
But did anyone else catch him at the Voorheesville HS gym, sometime around 1970? As I recall it was just before he released AP. IIRC, he introduced it as something new coming out soon, played and the crowd were beside themselves. Awesome stuff for a kid to witness.

Brain Scavo, Anyone?

Chuck D. , I was there too, walked over, auditorium tho not gym

Heh, talk about old reviving old threads, or keeping them alive. In doing some other research on Mr. McLean I came upon this old one I'd made, and surprise, a much delayed response from Bob A.

So thanks Bob, and in the interest of closing the circle (pun intended), Here's a link to the Altamont Enterprise article describing the concert in question which occurred on February 1, 1972.

Sounds like we were good kids too!

Don did appear at Voorheesville HS sometime in 1972 or 1973
....forgive me, I'm pressing 62 years-old now, so the timeline may be off.

I'm a 1973 Voorheesville graduate and recall taking yearbook photos of his performance in the gym for the school.

Remarkable set.....and a very nice guy. He was quite gracious and kind to us school kids.

I, personally, don't have any pics. I used the school camera and we developed several pics after his performance. I think that some appeared in the 72 or 73 yearbook.

I suppose they're now part of old-upstate NY history.

I sure miss my school years in Voorheesville.

Thanks for the Memories, friends...

I was listening to American Pie recently and vaguely remembered attending this concert. Until I saw the Enterprise article, thought I might have dreamed it. I was a student at Guilderland Central High and doubled dated with a friend. I remember it feeling raucous and fun with Don McClean sitting on a stool and we the kids sitting on the floor around him, intimate. I am close to 63 so was glad to find solid evidence of this memory.

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