In celebration of the 50th anniversary of American Pie, the album and single, Don McLean was recently presented with a plaque for multi-platinum certifications for American Pie and a platinum certification for Vincent.
The celebrated Songwriter Hall of Fame member was honoured by Universal Music Canada’s Ivar Hamilton, VP Catalogue Marketing; Warren Stewart, Director of Catalogue Marketing; and Mark O’Keeffe, Catalogue Marketing Coordinator, backstage at the John Bassett Theatre in Toronto.
The song, of course, is an ode to the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who died in a plane crash in 1959, and references a changing of the guard with “the Jester” being a veiled reference to Bob Dylan.
Once asked what "American Pie" meant, McLean replied, "It means I don't ever have to work again if I don't want to.”
Released in 1971, American Pie was a number-one US hit for four weeks at the beginning of 1972. McLean is now promoting the 50th anniversary of the song with an extended album release and a tour.
McLean has had many other hits, including Vincent, And I Love You So, and Castles in the Air, but American Pie has taken on a life of its own, earning him as much as $500K in annual royalties, according to one UK source.