Early Don McLean recording of American Pie

This is an early recording of Don singing “American Pie” unearthed from the archives of WMUC radio, a student run station at the University of Maryland.

The station believes the recording originates from spring 1971, well before the song was released for sale as a single. There are some differences between this WMUC recording and the lyrics and music as we know them from the record.

Don  has listened to the recording but doesn’t recall anything about it except to say that, in general, he did “play with the lyrics, just for fun sometimes.”


  1. Joel Sumerlin says:

    Hey there Don, Seldom does anyone come by Topeka I would want to see. Thanks much. Seeing you and Judy will be special this next Friday night. I am in my last year at Washburn University and have not seen a good show past Farm Aid in Kansas City a while back. I collect autographs for my self. I have a signed C.F. Martin IV table book with Dick Boak. I do not sell my findings. I have Neil Young , Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, Mark Knoffler, album covers and a few other folks like Stephen King, Tom Wolf and Groucho Marx. I would love to see what the Martin custom shop created for you. I need to know if you and Judy might sign my new ukulele, and how would that could happen. Thanks much, Joel in Topeka… 785.215.5547

  2. Norman Adamson says:

    I like this. Takes me back to my childhood. And surprisingly clear.
    At times Don might change a word or two singing AP in a concert, which made it more interesting.
    Love it when he does an instrumental verse during his performance.
    Growing up in Cold Spring, my friends and I would go to his house for his autograph, which he gladly gave us. To me, back then, he was larger than life. Yet he was very down to earth. And still is. On occassion Don and I would have a nice conversation after a concert talking about Cold Spring. He’s a very cordial person.

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