Don McLean Albums Ranked

Donald McLean III (born October 2, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his 1971 hit song “American Pie”, an 8.5-minute folk-rock “cultural touchstone” about the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation. Donald McLean III (born October 2, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his 1971 hit song “American Pie”, an 8.5-minute folk-rock “cultural touchstone” about the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation. His composition “And I Love You So” has been sung by Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Helen Reddy, Glen Campbell, and others, and in 2000, Madonna had a hit with a rendition of “American Pie”. In 2004, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In January 2018, BMI certified that “American Pie” and “Vincent” had reached five million and three million air plays respectively. Here are all of Don McLean albums ranked.

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10. The River Of Love (1995)

“Musically, this is a very diverse album. It easily blends country with pop, and even manages to add in some blues and one gospel song. Don’s voice is pure and clear throughout and the instrumentals are lush, including Chet Atkins on guitar in “You’re My Little Darlin'”. I found it very enjoyable and also very touching. Although I like each of the individual tracks on this album, I recommend listening to it from beginning to end. It weaves the story of a man who has seen unhappy times, but through a wonderful woman, two children, and God has found real purpose and meaning to his life.” 

9. The Best Of Don McLean (1991)

“The first track , tribute to the late great Buddy Holly , American Pie is simply amazing. Play the game of working out the hidden references or give up and Google it before you go crazy. When McLean was asked what the song meant he simply replied ” it means I don’t need to work no more”. Yes it will be played forever. There is also his other big hit Vincent a truly beautiful, tender song. In addition there are several other subtle numbers like Winter Wood , Empty Chairs to name but two, but really there are no make weight songs on this album they are all good and all worth a listen”. 

8. Believers (1981)

“This is one Don McLean’s best albums. Has some old time rock and roll songs on it for filler. But the original songs are enough to keep it in your library. Hard core Christians will love some songs and hate others especially the title track. Face it people he tells the truth about life and the world. Get over it!”

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7. Botanical Gardens (2018)

“The album includes a nice mix of playful country rockers like “The Lucky Guy” and “Ain’t She A Honey” which highlight McLean’s wordplay. I agree with some previous reviews that criticize the production values, but I’ve noticed this with a lot of new music from heritage artists like McCartney, Paul Simon, and others. That said, this is a great album that any McLean fan will definitely enjoy over and over.”

6. Chain Lightning (1978)

“McLean’s covers of “Crying” and “Since I don’t have you” will compel you to dig out the originals for comparison, and the Orbison and Skyliners originals might be found wanting. (Orbison himself graciously declared his preference for McLean’s hit cover of “Crying.”) This reflective version of “Your cheatin’ heart” is deliciously slow and profound, fully competitive with legendary covers by Patsy Cline, Les Paul and Mary Ford, and Art and Dotty Todd–all artists active in McLean’s recreated Golden Age of retro pop.”

5. Tapestry (1970)

“This album is absolutely incredible! Many people will say that the songs on it are boring but in reality, only the true fans of Don Mclean or even folk music will appreciate it. You have to listen to the songs a few times for the feelings to settle in but buying Mr. Mclean’s first album is no regret of mine. His beautiful lyrics and unique musical style continue to amaze me.”

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4. Don McLean (1972)

“Do you like folk?… if you do, you gonna love this record… if you don’t, i’m sure you gonna love it anyway (but you may give it a little more time). Listen to his warm and clear voice, the way he play his guitar, and the way he build the language that he used in his songs, like a poet. Thank you Don McLean, for this little, but important part of my life. I play guitar myself, and some times when it sounds bad and i lost my feeling for playing, I use this record to feel right again.”

3. Homeless Brother (1974)

“Homeless Brother is Don McLean’s masterpiece. A concept album about the life and philosophies of life’s outcasts, drifters, and free spirits (focusing frequently on the mythos of the American hobo), every song is a gem. “Winter Has Me In Its Grip” sets the tone of a restless wanderer needing to get away. The title song (featuring great, earthy banjo and vocal harmony by the legendary Pete Seeger) paints a picture of the hardships of the hobo while a sprightly cover of George Harrison’s “Sunshine Life For Me” revels in the romanticism of living such a carefree life”

2. American Pie: The Greatest Hits (2000)

“Like everybody else I grew up hearing American Pie and Vincent. I was never aware of other songs because they just never got air play and at the time I was into other bands. After 40 or so years I went back and took another look. Glad I did. There are some great songs on this CD, songs I never heard before. I would also recommend this “greatest hits” over the American Pie album. The only drawback to Don McLean’s stuff is a lot of it can be depressing. It’s not like early Beatles where most every song was upbeat and cheerful. Don is more than just a two-hit wonder though”

1. American Pie (1971)

“For years, the character actor Bud Cort hated the movie “Harold and Maude.” His bravo performance in that film overshadows every other thing he’s ever done. So it is with Don McLean and “American Pie.” I can understand McLean’s ambivalence; even so, “American Pie” is still the greatest song of all time.”