Don McLean Acoustic Guitar Songs

Don McLean Acoustic Guitar Songs

Welcome to my Don McLean acoustic guitar songs page where below I have lessons on 6 of Don Mclean numbers as well as free demos, free chords and lyrics sheets and tips on playing these classic folk songs.

There seems to be lots of questions out there asking is Don McLean dead or is Don McLean still alive or when did Don McLean die? The answer is as of this writing in Mar 2022 he is alive and well. And how old is Don McLean you ask? He is currently 76 years old.

Jump links to quickly access the sections.

American Pie | Bronco Bills Lament
Castles In The Air | Empty Chairs
The More You Pay | Vincent

Don McLean Acoustic Guitar Songs
Chords, Lyrics, Pdfs, Tutorials

1. American Pie

This was a single back in 1971 from the album of the same name and was written by Don McLean. In the song McLean makes ref to the Buddy Holly plane crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper in Feb 1959.

He also mentions he was a paper boy delivering papers at age 13 in the line "Feb made me shiver ... with every paper I delivered".  

The song was a #1 hit in several countries and was the longest #1 song on the radio (over 8 min) for more than 50 years until Taylor Swift broke that record in 2021 with a 10 min version of "All Too Well".

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = one you get past the downstrokes in the beginning, a root up down up pattern will work
  • Picking = No
  • Don McLean American Pie Chords = G, D/Gb, Em, Am, C, D7, A7, G6 in place of the B note, D
Chords & Lyrics

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2. Bronco Bills Lament

This song by Don McLean was never released as a single but can be found on his 1973 album "Don McLean".

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = root down root up down up
  • Picking = Yes
  • Chords = G, D/Gb, Em, C, D, A7, B7, G6, Am
Chords & Lyrics

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3. Castles In The Air

Castles In The Air was released before American Pie but did not chart in 1971. Ten years later it was released again and did hit the top 10 in Canada and the US.

The track can be found on McLeans debut album "Tapestry".

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 2nd fret
  • Rhythm = root up down up root up down up and repeat this pattern
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = Em, A7, D, Dmaj7, Esus4/D, G 
Chords & Lyrics

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4. Empty Chairs

As popular as this song is, Empty Chairs was never released as a single and can be found on the 1971 album "American Pie".

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = a root up down up and repeat will work but I'm using some arpeggio during the strumming
  • Picking = a few riffs
  • Chords = G, G/C, Am, D, D7, D/Gb, Em, 
Chords & Lyrics

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5. The More You Pay

This song was never released as a single either but can be found on the 1973 album "Don Mclean".

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = root down root up down up and repeat
  • Picking = No
  • Chords = D, C,  Am, F, G, Em, E, Asus2, Bm, Fmaj7
Chords & Lyrics

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6. Vincent ... aka Don McLean Starry Starry Night

Vincent became a #1 song in the UK in 1972 and was a top 10 in the US, Australia and Canada. My Vincent Don McLean cover has received some positive feedback.

The track can be found on the 1971 album "American Pie".

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = a root up down up and repeat will work but in this lesson I'm arpeggio picking a few notes so Im not playing a straight rhythm pattern
  • Picking = some arpeggio picking if you desire
  • Chords = G, Am, C, D, D/Gb, Em, D7, Am7, F, E7, Cmaj7
Chords & Lyrics

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Thanks for stopping by my Don McLean acoustic guitar songs page. After reviewing the free chords and lyrics sheets, free demos and a few of my rhythm tips, I hope you found some of this content useful. Feel free to share this page on your social media.

If you like songs by Don McLean, you might like these ... (click images)

Official Don McLean Website


Who Is Don Mclean

Just briefly, Don McLean is an American singer- songwriter known most famously for two monster songs, American Pie which has had over 5 million plays on radio and for Vicent, which has had over 3 million plays. Don hails from New Rochelle NY.

He lost his father at age 15. By age 16 he had learned guitar and was making musical connections in his local area. Over the years he hooked up with well known artist Pete Seeger.

Don got rejected 72 times before his first album "Tapestry", got recorded.


Don McLean Vincent Video

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