Musical Birthdays

Two of our favorite 60’s and 70’s musicians are celebrating birthdays this month – Don McLean born on October 2nd, 1945 and Paul Simon born on October 13th, 1941. Here are some fun facts about these iconic artists:


Don McLean

·         Don McLean’s American Pie was selected as one of the five greatest songs of the 20th century in a poll by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America. The other four songs were This Land is Your Land, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Respect, and White Christmas.

·         Don McLean won the folk-singing contest at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. (Mindy and Larry both attended this World’s Fair, of course not knowing the other was there, and they certainly didn’t catch the folk-singing contest!)

·         Don McLean always sings American Pie in concert, despite press accounts to the contrary.

·         An urban legend claims that American Pie was the name of Buddy Holly’s plane. It is not true. Buddy Holly did not own a plane, and the plane he died in was an unnamed Beechcraft Bonanza.

·         Johnny Cash wrote I Wish I Could Yodel after hearing Don sing Lovesick Blues in Cash’s home.

·         Don McLean’s And I Love You So is the last song on Elvis in Concert, the last album Elvis Presley recorded.

·         Don McLean is a skilled western horseman. He owns and trained three Appaloosa horses. He has 50 pairs of custom-made western boots, and he wears only Levi 501 button-fly jeans.

·         David New, a British fan, has a picture of Don McLean tattooed in color across his entire back. He was the first fan to do this in 1978.

·         The Don McLean Foundation sends students, who cannot otherwise afford it, to college and contributes to homeless shelters and food banks in the state of Maine.

·         Don even wrote a song called… Birthday Song!

Paul Simon

·         Paul is left-handed but plays guitar right-handed. (And sometimes writes right-handed, especially when signing autographs!)

·         When first performing as a duo under the moniker of Tom & Jerry, Garfunkel went by Tom Graph and Simon went by Jerry Landis. Some years later, still not yet Simon & Garfunkel, Simon was going by the name Paul Kane while Garfunkel was known as Artie Garr. Then, in 1958, Simon released one of his first solo songs, "True or False," under the name True Taylor.

·         Notoriously prickly about product association, the BBC refused to play 'Kodachrome' and the song was not released as a single in Britain as a result of that highly damaging banishment from airplay.

·         Simon was slated to play Dunbar in the movie Catch-22 (1970) before the character was dropped.

·         Simon acted as a record producer in the 1977 Woody Allen movie Annie Hall.

·         Asked if there were any songs he'd written that he now regrets recording, he said no. However, he does say he'd hate to be remembered for the song "Feelin' Groovy."

·         When working on material for his album 'So Beautiful Or So What,' Simon reached out to Bob Dylan with the idea that the pair, who toured together in 1999, would record a duet. Simon's request for a collaboration went unanswered.

·         Singer/songwriter Edie Brickell was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 1988 and Simon happened to be standing off-camera watching her performance. When she noticed him, it threw her off guard and she was instantly smitten with Simon. A wedding followed for the pair a few years later when they were married in 1992, and they are still happily married to this day.


And additional honorable mentions of more singers/musicians who have birthdays this month (ones whose music we have performed over the years):

Chubby Checker

Chuck Berry

Cliff Richard

Daryl Hall

Grace Slick

Helen Reddy (She died this week )

Jackson Browne

Jim Seals

John Lennon

Julie Andrews

Lindsey Buckingham

Richard Carpenter


Taffy Nivert-Danoff

Tom Paxton

Tom Petty


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