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4.7 out of 5 stars79
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 April 2000
Many people who would not normally listen to the music of Don McLean will be purchasing this CD, simply out of a curiosity generated by Madonna's recent version of 'American Pie'.
Such people will find Don McLean to be a song-writer of many classics and will be surprised to find other McLean #1 hits such as 'Crying' (from 1980) and 'Vincent' (1972). The version of 'Castles in the Air' included here was recorded in 1981 and became a hit single in the UK and USA; 'Mountains of Mourne' was #1 in Ireland in 1974. Lesser known hits from the USA include 'If We Try' and 'Wonderful baby'. But for some the best tracks will be songs such as 'Crossroads' and 'Empty Chairs'.
This album deserves to go to number 1 in the charts. Success with this CD will in some small way be recognition for a lifetime of achievement in the music business.
Don McLean is still highly active - recording new material and touring constantly...
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on 5 September 2007
Arguably, some of the picks on this record is a bit of touch and go, in terms of quality. Certainly, there is more than a handful I could have lived without, but hey, that's they beauty of modern day programmable players and CD burners.

I have made my own selection of 14 songs from this CD which is not only of incredible quality, but also has an almost haunting beauty which you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. I'm thinking of the beautiful acoustic set of Winterwood, Empty Chairs, Croosroads and of course Vincent, one of the best known tracks here - but also of the delightful traditional Mountains Of Mourne, with the humerous lyrics about longing back to where one comes from, which McLean does an absolutely stunning take on. The longing in his voice almost moves me to tears. And special mention goes to the amazing war-protest song The Grave, which is one of the most chilling songs I've ever heard; opening with the chilling statement "The grave that they dug him had flowers", and including the heart-wrenching monologue of the soldier in speak, "He crouched ever lower, ever lower with fear. >>they can't let me die! the can't let me die here! I'll cover myself with the mud and the earth. I'll cover myself! I know I'm not brave! The earth! the earth! the earth is my grave.<<" Classic.

But the album has an equal share of more upbeat moments. Of course, the all-dominant title track, but also the intriguing Dreidel, the songs that keeps morphing into something new, is high on my list of favorites, the rocking Going For The Gold is an interesting diversion in style, and the more folk-oriented Respectable, Castles In The Air, Fool's Paradise and If We Try all make for pleasant listenings. And of course, the remake of Boy George's Crying might have been made with a smile on the lip, but is none-the-less pretty darn good.

Highly recommended.
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on 18 April 2012
This is a better selection than The (alleged) Best of, mainly because it contains the track Respectable. But in an ideal world, you'd be better off buying (at greater expense) Tapestry and the original American Pie. You'd get less dross (Everyday, Mountains O'Mourne, anyone?), the indispensable Orphans of Wealth, and a superior (faster) version of Castles in the Air. Sadly, Tapestry is no longer available (on Amazon, anyway).
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on 21 June 2014
If you look through the list of his albums, this compilation is at the top of the list. Further down is the compilation in the review header. I don't have this one, so don't know about the booklet, but the review below is what I wrote about the other album and it will do for this album, too.


I keep coming back to this album and then I can't stop listening to it - especially the last track.

Don McLean will always be remembered for writing "American Pie" and "Vincent", but there has always been more to him than those two songs. Those, and others like "Castles In The Air", "Wonderful Baby" and Crossroads" show just what a majestic songwriter he is, whilst at the same time other tracks, notably "Everyday" and (my all-time favourite of his) Roy Orbison's "Crying" demonstrate that he interprets other people's material wonderfully.

"Crying", which deservedly went soaring to the top of the UK charts, is a fantastic rendition of an already fantastic song (Orbison really did know how to write brilliant, sad songs). It is the perfect choice to have as the final track.

I suspect Don McLean really could have been an even bigger star, but the ordinary people who like his kind of music know just how sensational he is.

If you want an album by McLean, this is the one to buy.
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on 3 October 2012
An American radio station did a program which explained every verse of the song American Pie.This can be seen on the Internet and is probably the most accurate one of all about a song which made little sense to anyone with no knowledge of the 50s and 60s.Don McClean was not of much help when asked about the lyrics but its no doubt a very clever song which he left open to others to interpret.
Thus I found it quite ridiculous that the song should be revived by Mad Donna and not only that but topping the charts-McClean just missed in the U K making No 2
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on 5 May 2015
Recent hype about the hidden meanings behind the lyrics of "American Pie" stirred my interest in the recordings of Don McLean. I purchased this 20 track collection and on the whole was not disappointed.

Along with the title track, we have "Castles In The Air", the lyrics and performance are simply beautiful. Then we have "Wonderful Baby", a sort of novelty song. "Vincent " follows shortly afterwards, a wonderful song. His performance of "And I Love you So", is bland by comparison. "Everyday" and "Fool`s Paradise" are 2 Buddy Holly songs, a reasonable effort. It was a surprise at the time to hear a version of "Mountains Of Mourne", there are better versions out there, but this was a fairly good cover. My favourite is "Crying", the Roy Orbison song, which is performed brilliantly.

Interspersed with these better known tracks are a lot of songs which I had never heard before, some good, some less good. The arrangements and production on all of the tracks is excellent. These were `Pop` songs of the highest calibre and this CD will be a welcome addition to any collection.
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on 8 November 2013
You know what really bugs me about this 'greatest hits' business? the fact that the 'greatest hits' never are 'the greatest hits' - i dont know whether theyre just thrown together at random by some not-so-bright spark at a record company or whether they employ some other not-so-bright spark to give his opinion on what tracks to put on a 'greatest hits' compilation. Whatever one it is, its pretty fair to say that none of the people involved are particular fans of the bands whose 'greatest hits' theyre compiling otherwise we wouldnt be where we are with all the 'greatest hits' or 'best of'(sic) albums out there - including this one.

And thats a shame because in the case of the great don mclean here, whom i love as a singer and songwriter, a newcomer to the man might wade through this compilation and think that thats all there is to him, which of course it is not

So we have 'american pie' and 'vincent' - of course we do. Two CLASSIC songs. There are plenty of others rightfully here - fantastic songs too many to list. But then we have others that have no place at all here. With all respect to don, the likes of 'going for the gold' 'dreidel' 'fools paradise' la la love you' 'respectable' 'birthday song' and his cover of the godawful 'everyday' are not worthy of being in such company and do not belong on a 'best of' at all. Opinions of course and we're all entitled to opinions right? But far more deserving songs are absent - wheres 'til tomorrow' 'oh my what a shame' 'falling thru time' 'the pride parade' 'general store' 'tapestry' 'tangled' 'winter has me in its grip' etc etc - get the picture?

So theres my gripe - i hate 'greatest hits' compilations as much as i hate all compilations, cos theyre thrown together by people who dont care and have no education in the music theyre compiling. And in the case of mr don mclean, well that my friends, is a travesty
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on 6 September 2013
I've always been a fan of Don McClean but somehow never got round to buying any cd's! My son put this on my new I Pod shuffle when Iwent on holiday recently and I fell in love with it so wanted the CD for the car and home. Every track is fabulous not a bad one on it. A great choice for all fans old and new
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on 17 April 2012
This was a pleasant surprise as I had only really hear a couole of the tracks on this cd' but I found that it had some really good tunes. I was glad to buy this disc
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on 22 January 2013
To quote the words of Vincent: 'A long, long time ago, I can still remember..........' how I used to play and play this LP over and over; yes, before the days of the handy CDs! Containing the iconic American Pie, these really are the very best of a whole era which evoke touching memories. Even for those who did not live through those times, it is still a must have with Don Maclean's unique, voice uttering every word so crystal clear!
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