Don McLean Says His Success Is Due to Asthma and Father’s Death
Don McLean looked back on the moments that forged his career, saying that suffering from asthma as a child, along with the death of his father, contributed to his success.
“Children are all naturally creative – until school knocks it out of them,” McLean told Inews in a recent interview. “They sing, they paint, they invent stuff. One of the advantages of having asthma is that it kept me out of school for long periods for many years. I was able to develop another Don McLean that wasn’t programmed by the school system.” Had his respiratory disease not kept him out of school, McLean believes he would have followed a different path. “If I’d been perfectly healthy and a good student or athlete, I’d probably be dead now because I would have been a really boring person at a bank somewhere who drank himself to death.”
The musician's father died when he was 15 years old, which McLean said gave him the opportunity to pursue his artistic ambitions instead of continuing his business administration career. “For some reason my father was adamantly opposed to show business,” the singer recalled. “He thought that was for some sort of lesser man. I was very sad when my father passed away, but I also realized I could do anything I wanted without worrying about my father turning against me, which he certainly would have done.”
Discussing the song that made his name, and the fact that a related Broadway show, documentary film and children’s book are all under production, he said: “‘American Pie’ has its own identity and personality – it’s almost like it’s alive. I just watch and wonder what’s going to happen next. It’s like I’m sitting in a spaceship watching while stuff goes by my window… there’s so much energy behind ‘American Pie.’ at this point.