Don McLean makes stop in Saratoga Springs
Legendary singer songwriter Don McLean took the stage Friday for the SaratogaArtsFest. The artist's sold-out show was the four-day festival's signature event, but it's not the first time he's made music in the Spa City. Our Beth Croughan spoke with him about his previous performances and connection to Saratoga Springs.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- For a longtime, locals believed Don McLean wrote the lyrics to his hit song "American Pie" in Saratoga's Tin & Lint. A plaque is placed above a booth there and it's a place where a bartender said the song is a popular choice on the juke box.
But McLean, who was in town for a sold-out show at Skidmore College, said although he didn't write it here, he definitely sang it here. Back in the sixties, the musician took a job at Caffè Lena.
"It was a place, it was a workshop, basically. That's where you learned your craft, where you met people and you failed, you made mistakes," he said of his time there.
He played for people in the Caffè, as their history has it, 13 times. Each time he played, McLean said he had to have three hours worth of material.
"We have a live recording of his last show at Caffè Lena and when Lena Spencer introduced him, she welcomed him for his 13th visit to the stage and that was actually after ‘American Pie’ came out. so it was quite a coo to have him on the Caffè Lena stage when he was really getting a Grammy award and was at the top of the music industry," said Sarah Craig, the director of Caffè Lena.
And after touring for more than 40 years, McLean related the multiple stops made in Saratoga to what he likes most about making music.
"Well it's dynamic, you know. I visit places. I mean, like I came back here. You know, I don't have cobwebs in my head. You know, I'm always going places and seeing things. Now I'm having fun remembering how it was and how it is and," he said.