‘American Pie’ Singer Don McLean Shares What Being an American Means to Him

Don McClean is seen as Musician Don McLean Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on August 16, 2021 in Hollywood, California
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Don McLean, best known for the song “American Pie,” recently opened up about his struggles and what being a true American means to him. He believes that being an American means that everyone should be treated fairly and with respect and that you should never let obstacles stand in your way.

He explained, “You don’t have to win all the time, but if you lose, you realize you lost because you weren’t good enough, so you’ve got to make yourself better, and you’re going to win next time,” and added that it’s not about “‘I always have to be a winner, or I’m a nothing.’ No, you’ve got to be a loser first, man. I lost a lot. I was down a lot. I had a lot of things happen to me where I’ve been flattened, and I get up, you know, and I dust myself off, just like the song says, and start all over again.”

Don McLean attends the 2023 Music City Walk of Fame Induction ceremony at Music City Walk of Fame on October 04, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee

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McLean shared that experiencing pain and setbacks is what helped him to become a famous songwriter. He admitted, “There’s a lot of pain, you know, if you want to be a songwriter. If you’re not hurting, you’re no good as a songwriter. You know, if you have everything work out perfect for you, you’ve got nothing to say, you know? And you certainly can’t relate to the average person out there who has all sorts of f—ing bad things in his life, you know, he has to deal with kids on drugs and ex-wives and no money, and you name it, one thing after another.”

McLean believes that his music resonates with people because he understands how they feel but sees some stark differences between himself and some people now. He said, “I was broke, but I was never poor. I think people are poorer now [when] they have more money than they ever were when they were broke, because they don’t understand how great they are and how much they have inside, and they’ve given up, and all they think about is the dollars. And so, you can have money and still not have that feeling inside, like, ‘I can make it anywhere.’ I never stop feeling that way. Nobody ever told me – I was always better than all those other guys, OK? Nothing set me back. That’s America.”

Let us know if you agree or disagree with McLean’s opinions!

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February 2024

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