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.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

Thank you!

...has 24 comments, most recently from Erik

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine