Don McLean

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Interesting facts and trivia about Don McLean. By Songfacts®.

Don McLean was born in New Rochelle, New York. At an early age he developed asthma and was forced to spend the majority of his time at home and indoors. The ailment caused him to miss extended periods of school and he passed the time by listening to music.

By his teen years McLean's love of music inspired him to begin creating it. He bought his first guitar, a Harmony F-hole model and played it constantly. He also took opera lessons that were paid for by his sister. The opera lessons trained his voice to sing but they also strengthened his lungs and increased his breath control which greatly improved his asthmatic symptoms.

His talents as both a song writer and a musician were exceptional even as a teenager. When he was 16 he was invited to join a band called the Rooftop Singers but rejected the offer because he considered himself to be a troubadour. In the early 1960s, folk music became immensely popular with the influences of artists like Bob Dylan. McLean was enamored with the story telling aspect of the genre and began writing songs heavily influenced by folk music.

In 1963 McLean enrolled at Villanova University. He would last only four months at Villanova but before he dropped out he became close friends with fellow classmate, Jim Croce. The two shared a love of folk music and both men later became cornerstones of the singer/songwriter movement of the 1970s.


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