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(Credit: Alan Howard)

Music

Don McLean would have "drank himself to death" if it wasn't for childhood asthma

@SamWKemp

Speaking in a new interview, Don McLean of ‘American Pie’ fame has said that, if it wasn’t for his childhood asthma, he would have probably “drank himself to death.” Opening up about his life and career, the much-celebrated American singer-songwriter discussed the enduring appeal of his 1971 hit song ‘American Pie’ 50 years on and how his asthma allowed him to stay out of trouble as a teenager.

Describing how he never felt comfortable in school, McLean said: “Children are all naturally creative – until school knocks it out of them. 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.”

As McLean noted, it was his absence from the classroom and the sportsfield that allowed him to develop his own passions and avoid bad influences: “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,” he said.

The legendary singer also recalled how he was only able to pursue his music career after his father’s death when Don was just 15 years old. “For some reason, my father was adamantly opposed to show business,” McLean began. “He thought that was for some sort of lesser man. I was very sad when my father passed away, but I also realised I could do anything I wanted without worrying about my father turning against me, which he certainly would have done.”

Elsewhere, McLean has unveiled an extensive 2022 world tour in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ‘American Pie’, which served as the title track for his album of the same name. Beginning in Hawaii in late January, McLean and his band will then burn a trail through North America before landing in Europe and the UK.

Describing his excitement in a recent statement, Don McLean said: “After spending the past 18 months at home, I am thrilled to be getting back on the road with my band.” You can check out the full list of dates and buy tickets here.