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Don McLean to be interviewed by Dan Rather

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Songwriter Hall of Fame member and BBC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Don McLean joins Dan Rather for a special evening, opening up about what has shaped and defined him as an artist, fellow superstar influences, and the making of Recording Industry of America (RIAA) top 5 song of the 20th Century “American Pie,” in this exclusive look at an all-new episode of The Big Interview—airing Wednesday, May 20 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.

In this fascinating interview McLean shares where the journey began. He was just 15 years old when his father died and by that time his musical focus was already folk in part, drawing inspiration from The Weavers landmark 1955 recording Live at Carnegie Hall. McLean was determined to become a professional musician and singer and, as a 16-year-old, he was already making contacts in the business. After managing to get his home number from the telephone directory, Don phoned Erik Darling who recorded his first studio sessions with Lisa Kindred.

After college shows and apprenticeships, in 1969, Don recorded his first album, Tapestry, in Berkeley, California. The student riots were going on outside the studio door as Don was singing “And I Love You So” inside. The album was first released by Mediarts and attracted good reviews and achieved some commercial success.

“Dan Rather was incredible! I have never been interviewed by anyone that was so educated and knowledgeable about my career than Dan was. He asked me things far beyond the typical questions you get when doing interviews. What a gentleman and very thought out person,” says Don McLean.

The transition to international stardom began in 1971 with the release of "American Pie”. This breakthrough single was recorded on May 26th, 1971 and a month later received its first radio airplay on New York's WNEW-FM and WPLJ-FM to mark the closing of The Fillmore East, the famous New York concert hall. McLean dives into his rise to stardom and what lies behind the making of a hit that lives on for decades in The Big Interview. Don shares treasured information with Dan Rather that will pique the interest and inspire the hearts of viewers.

In addition to Don McLean, new highlights include Debbie Harry, lead singer of legendary rock band Blondie and Don Felder, a former lead guitarist of the Eagles. This season will also feature singer/songwriter and guitarist Robbie Robertson of The Band ; Jethro Tull frontman and flutist Ian Anderson, and chart topping rock legend Huey Lewis.

Watch The Big Interview here.

Don't forget to come back next week for more entertainment news on Let's Go Big Tunes blog page

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