Song of the Day, March 31: Vincent by Don McLean

McLeanVincentToday’s song took the life of a master painter into the Top 20. While preparing the material for his 1971 masterpiece, American Pie, Don McLean spent some time working for a local school system, playing and singing in classrooms. He encountered a biography of Vincent van Gogh, and was inspired to write an educational tribute about the painter’s life.

suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of ‘crazy’ … So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.

Using the line “starry starry night” as a hook and referencing many of the artist’s works, McLean crafted a touching, intimate portrait. It’s a standout on the album and a highlight of his career. It also went to #1 in the UK and hit #12 at home.

Enjoy this beautiful song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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