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Songs By Don McLean
On The Acoustic

songs by don mclean

Welcome to my songs by Don McLean  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.

Who Is Don McLean?

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.

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Songs By Don McLean
Chords, Lyrics, Pdfs, Tutorials

1. American Pie

american pie song by don mclean

American Pie 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".

For rhythm in this one I play a root up down up pattern once you get past the down strokes in the beginning. There is no lead work in this one played in standard tuning using the chords G, D/Gb, Em, Am, C, D7, A7 and a G6.

Chords & Lyrics


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2. Bronco Bills Lament

bronco bills lament song by don mclean

Bronco Bill's Lament by Don McLean was never released as a single.

It can be found on his 1973 album "Don McLean".

You can play this song in standard tuning using the rhythm pattern root down root up down up. There is also some picking required in this song using the chords G, D/Gb, Em, C, D, A7, B7, G6 and Am.

Chords & Lyrics


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3. Castles In The Air

castles in the air song by don mclean

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".

Play this one with a capo on the 2nd fret but you have no lead work to be concerned with while you play a root up down up root up down up rhythm pattern. The chords in this song are Em, A7, D, Dmaj7, Esus4/D and a G.

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4. Empty Chairs

empty chairs song by don mclean

Empty Chairs was never released as a single and can be found on the 1971 album "American Pie".

It has become down thru the years, a very popular song by Don McLean.

Another song here played in standard tuning with a few picking riffs throughout while strumming the chords G, G/C, Am, D, D7, D/Gb and Em. For rhythm I'm playing a root up down up and repeat while playing a bit of arpeggio notes during the strumming.

Chords & Lyrics


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5. The More You Pay

the more you pay song by don mclean

The More You Pay was never released as a single .

It can be found on the 1973 album "Don Mclean".

This one has a few chords in it which include D, C,  Am, F, G, Em, E, Asus2, Bm and Fmaj7 while played in standard tuning. There isn't any lead work and you can get away with a simple root down root up down up and repeat rhythm pattern.

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

vincent song by don mclean

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".

You have two choices for rhythm in this song. Either a root up down up and repeat will work or in this lesson I'm arpeggio picking a few notes along the way, so I'm not playing a straight rhythm pattern. This one is in standard tuning with the chords G, Am, C, D, D/Gb, Em, D7, Am7, F, E7 and a Cmaj7.

Chords & Lyrics


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Thanks for stopping by my songs by Don McLean 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)

james taylor link
john prine link
paul simon link

Official Don McLean Website

Don McLean Vincent Video

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