“American Pie” Singer/songwriter Don McLean Plays Historic Lubbock Gig

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Tony Maples Photography


Performing live in Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday, November 7, legendary singer/songwriter Don McLean will take the stage at the Cactus Theater. Performing a number of his notable hits, the event is also anticipated as a historically significant experience for fans of the artist as well as those who love the music of Lubbock rock-n-roll hero Buddy Holly. Holly’s tragic death inspired McLean’s pop anthem “American Pie,” which is anticipated to be a chilling sensation of the evening.

Among such notable hits as “And I Love You So,” “Since I Don’t Have You,” and remakes like Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” McLean has a formidable selection of music from which to draw for such a momentous performance. Playing at an intimate setting in the Texas town where Holly began his road to fame is practically surreal in itself – you’d almost expect the air to be thick with nostalgia, if not simple and profound emotion.

"American Pie" Singer/songwriter Don McLean Plays Historic Lubbock Gig

Photo: Facebook/Roxy Records

“American Pie” was released in 1971. In an article written by McLean and published by CNN in 2015, the singer/songwriter identified his true life experience and feelings which formed the backstory for the hit song. “As a paperboy, I cut open the stack of papers on February 3, 1959, and saw that Buddy Holly had been killed in the plane crash,” he explained. The next day I went to school in shock, and guess what? Nobody cared. Rock ‘n roll in those days was sort of like hula hoops and Buddy hadn’t had a big hit on the charts since ’57, nor had the others in the plane crash.”

"American Pie" Singer/songwriter Don McLean Plays Historic Lubbock Gig

Photo: Facebook/Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was only 22 when his plane crashed en route to a tour stop. He and three others were listed among the fatalities on February 3, 1959, at the crash site just miles from Mason City Municipal Airport in Iowa. After the release of McLean’s popular hit, the tragedy was referenced as “The Day the Music Died,” taking a cue from the pop classic. McLean was honored three decades after the song was released. The Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment of the Arts had compiled via poll a list of 365 “Songs of the Century” for which “American Pie” was voted number five. To give you a sense of the magnitude of this recognition, the top four ahead of it were voted as Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. The song was in great company.

"American Pie" Singer/songwriter Don McLean Plays Historic Lubbock Gig

Photo: Facebook/Don McLean

The November 7 concert in Lubbock is being called “…one of the most historically-significant concert events in the history of the Cactus Theater…” Theater owner Darryl Holland may be underestimating the impact such an event can and will have on the performer’s fans as well as those who love and continue to pay homage to Holly. At the very least, his sense of pride is definitely well-placed. “I know this special concert will be extremely significant for music fans across the region and I’m proud to bring this show to the Cactus and Lubbock in general,” he told McLean’s last Lubbock performance was held at the former Lindsey Theater in 1986. With only a handful of remaining tickets available for this latest performance at the link provided here, readers can bet there won’t be an empty seat, nor even a dry eye at “An Evening With Don McLean.” And be sure to keep an eye out for more exciting concerts at the historic Cactus Theater in Lubbock.