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The legendary singer-songwriter Don McLean is back at the Pavilion in May 2018.

Don McLean is one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriters and forever associated with his classic hits American Pie, Vincent (Starry Starry Night), Castles in the Air, And I Love You So and Crying.

Since first hitting the charts in 1971, Don has amassed over 40 gold and platinum records world-wide and, in 2004, was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

His songs have been recorded by artists from every musical genre, most notably Madonna’s No. 1 recording of American Pie in 2000 and George Michael’s version of The Grave in 2003, sung in protest at the Iraq War.

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Talented singer-songwriter who began in folk music, performing free on behalf of Pete Seeger’s efforts to clean up the Hudson River.  His first album had been turned down by several labels because of his insistence on retaining his own publishing, but Tapestry ’70 was issued on Media Arts, soon taken over by UA; of the songs “And I Love You So” was covered by Perry Como for a Top 30 hit ’73, while his performance of “Empty Chairs” inspired “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox) a Grammy winner and a huge hit for Roberta Flack ’73.

Second album American Pie ’71 incl. irresistibly catchy title track, said to have been inspired by the death of Buddy Holly, but also a sentimental song about America that could be embraced by everybody as the USA reeled from Vietnam and Watergate: the 8.5 minute track as a two-sided single was no.1 for seven weeks and even pulled the first LP into the charts.   “Vincent/Castles In The Air” from the same LP was a no. 12 hit and “Vincent” (no.1 in the UK) was being played daily in the entrance to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

Third album Don McLean ’72 was a no. 23 LP, incl. top 30 “Dreidel”.

“Playin’ Favorites” ’73 got back to folk/country roots and did not chart in the USA, but incl. “Everyday”, top 40 single in the UK.

Homeless Brother ’74 was a no. 120 LP, incl. “The Legend of Andrew McCrew”, a true story about a black hobo who died aged 13, was exhibited in carnivals as a ‘petrified man’, not buried until ’73.

Two-disc, Solo ’76 incl. all the hits, followed by a switch to Arista label for Prime Time ’77.

With the coast clear he had hits again on Millenium label: top 30 LP Chain Lightning ’81 incl. no. 5 cover of old Roy Orbison hit, ‘Crying’ (no. 1 in the UK), also top 30 hit, ‘Since I Don’t Have You’.

Believers ’82 made top 200 LP’s incl. new top 30 version of ‘Castles In The Air’ (also minor hit in the UK).

Dominion ’83 on EMI/UK was two-disc set made in concert at London’s Dominion Theatre.

Love Tracks ’87 was on Capitol (incl. ‘Eventually’).

Classics, Headroom and The River of Love were on Curb CD’s.

Don McLean was asked by President Clinton to sing at the Lincoln Memorial on New Year’s Eve 1999 and attended to the Founders Dinner at the White House, honouring artists and industrialists.

“Starry, Starry Nights” was a PBS TV special filmed at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, with guests incl. Nanci Griffith and Garth Brooks and first broadcast in 2000.

Don formed Don McLean Records in 2001: first releases were Don McLean Sings Marty Robbins and 2-CD Starry, Starry Night from the PBS special.

Madonna had covered ‘American Pie’ for a huge international hit in 1999 and Weird Al Yankovic rewrote it as ‘The Saga Begins’ to send up Star Wars. Some people were surprised that Don allowed Yankovic’s record, as though he didn’t have a sense of humour; in fact a cultural artefact can only be used for this kind of affectionate satire if it is deeply loved in the first place.

Finally, ‘American Pie’ was named the fifth greatest song of the 20th Century by the NEA-RIAA (after, ‘Over The Rainbow’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘This Land Is My Land’ and ‘Respect’).

Honours continued to follow: Iona College conferred an honorary doctorate on Don in 2001 and a year later “American Pie” was finally inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 2004 Don McLean was inaugurated into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His award was presented by Garth Brooks who paid this tribute: “Don McLean his work, like the man himself is very deep and very compassionate. His pop anthem American Pie is a cultural phenomenon, and people are still trying to decode it after 35 years! He wrote other great songs like, And I Love You So, If We Try, Wonderful Baby, Winterwood, and my personal favorite Empty Chairs, which just kills me as a fan and a songwriter.”

In 2007 Don McLean shared his life story for the first time in Alan Howard’s book “The Don McLean Story: Killing Us Softly with His Songs”.

In 2011 Don performed on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival (“The veteran singer-songwriter’s take on “American Pie” , with multiple extra choruses, was another heartwarming, communal high” – The Independent).

Also in 2012 Don was awarded the BBC Folk Music Lifetime Achievement Award and performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A busy year also saw the release of “American Troubadour” on CD and DVD and a full colour coffee table book biography of the same name. The DVD charting Don’s life and career has subsequently been broadcast on TV worldwide (regularly on Sky Arts in the UK).

In 2014 Don performed for 30,000 at the Stagecoach Festival – one of the premier country music events in the US. According to the Daily News “the audience went wild, screaming, jumping, dancing. Even after the song was over, the audience still lingered, basking in the afterglow of the performance”

EAT BEFORE THE SHOW

Why not begin your evening with a bite to eat? There’s no need to book.

Mains £9.95

Chargrilled handmade cheeseburger with iceberg relish, chips and onion rings

Breaded goujons of local fish with a crunchy veg salad, chips and caper mayonnaise

Roasted vegetable and goats cheese lasagne with mixed leaf salad and garlic bread (V)

Spicy lamb meatballs, couscous, and mint yoghurt

Sides £4

Spiced potato wedges with a cucumber & mint dip (V)

Chips with homemade mayo

Tomato, basil, and red onion salad (V)

De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill voted one of the UK's top 10 beautiful gig venues BBC Music
Booking information

Please note that Booking Fees apply on the following transactions:
Online: £1.25 per ticket + £1.50 postage or free collection at the Box Office
Telephone: £2.50 per transaction + £1.50 postage or free collection at the Box Office
In Person: Free

Please note that we are only able to post tickets within the UK. If you live overseas please select box office collection or print at home tickets. Tickets purchased for post will be send 10 – 14 days before the show date.

Staying locally

There are plenty of welcoming and good value B&Bs & boutique hotels in Bexhill. The De La Warr Pavilion regularly uses the following :

Travel information
  • By Rail
    Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
    There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
    Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for up-to-date train travel information.
  • Taxis
    Town Taxis:  01424 211 511
    Parkhurst Taxis:  01424 733 456
  • By Car
    If driving from the London area:
    Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
    OR
    Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
    From the Brighton area:
    Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
  • Parking
    Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 8pm. After this time parking is free. There is also lmiited free car parking along the seafront.
Accessibility

Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.

Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.

Please contact the Box Office on 01424 229 111 to arrange a visit.

Facilities for disabled visitors

  • Ramped access at the front of the building
  • A low counter at the Box Office and  Information Desk
  • Disabled toilets on two floors
  • A lift to all floors
  • Accessible galleries on both floors
  • An accessible Café
  • Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
  • Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
  • Ramped access into the Studio
  • Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.

Facilities for blind or visually-impaired

  • Large print season brochures

Facilities for the hard-of-hearing

  • An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
  • British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.