Press Release

For Immediate release!


JULIEN’S AUCTIONS ANNOUNCES PROPERTY FROM THE LIFE AND CAREER OF DON MCLEAN

“Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” Original Lyrics to Headline Auction Event and Celebration of the 50th Birthday of Folk Rock Icon’s Musical Touchstone “American Pie” Featuring Collection of McLean’s Guitars, Stage-Worn Clothing, Vintage Watches, Jewelry, Knives, Western Gear and More

Auction Exhibition Tour Stops at The Museum of Style Icons at the Newbridge Silverware Visitor’s Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland, October 6th-November 3rd and Hard Rock Cafe® New York November 7th – November 13th

A Portion of Proceeds to Benefit the Don McLean Foundation and “Kicking The Stigma,” The Indianapolis Colts and Irsay Family’s Mental Health Awareness Initiative

Kicking The Stigma

One of the Marquee Headliners of “Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll” Three-Day Auction Event November 11th, November 12th & November 13th at Hard Rock Cafe® in New York

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13th, 2022

Juliens Auctions Don McLean Cover

New York, NY – (September, 8th, 2022) – Julien’s Auctions proudly presents “PROPERTY FROM THE LIFE AND CAREER OF DON MCLEAN,” an exclusive presentation of one of the most revered folk rock recording artists of all time, who’s sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of his timeless classic, “American Pie.” Headlining the event and appearing on the auction stage for the first time will be Don McLean’s original lyrics of his classic hit single, “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” with an estimate of one million dollars. The auction featuring over 300 items from the personal collection of McLean from his homes in Garrison, New York, Camden, Maine and Palm Desert, California will headline Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll, the worldrecord-breaking auction house to the stars’ three-day event, taking place Friday, November 11th, Saturday, November 12th and Sunday, November 13th live in Hard Rock Cafe® New York and online at juliensauctions.com.

Don McLean Vincent lyricsIt was also announced that a portion of the proceeds will go to the Don McLean Foundation, which contributes funds to underserved college students, homeless shelters and food banks in the state of Maine and throughout the country and “Kicking The Stigma,” the Indianapolis Colts and the Jim Irsay family’s national initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders and to remove the stigma too often associated with these illnesses. (photo left: “Vincent” lyrics and right: 1929 000-28 Martin guitar used exclusively on the Homeless Brother album and the hit single “Wonderful Baby”)

Don McLean 1929 000-28 Martin guitar used exclusively on the Homeless Brother album and the hit single Wonderful BabyBorn October 2, 1945, Don McLean developed an early love for music listening to records and the radio at his family’s home in New Rochelle, New York. While McLean gravitated towards popular artists from Elvis and Buddy Holly to Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, it was the music of the folk revival – which he discovered via the landmark 1955 live record album The Weavers at Carnegie Hall – that would leave the greatest impression on him as a songwriter, singer, and instrumentalist. As a teenager, McLean began making himself known in the folk music circle playing with the likes of Erik Darling and was eventually signed by Harold Leventhal Management, whose roster included celebrated folk artists such as Woody Guthrie and The Weavers and actor Allen Larkin. During the mid-60s, McLean became one of the young troubadour luminaries of the American folk music revival movement, performing at storied clubs and coffee houses across the country from The Bitter End and Gaslight Café in New York, the Newport Folk Festival, The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C., The Main Point in Philadelphia, the Troubadour and Ash Grove in Los Angeles and college campuses, and touring with Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Ten Wheel Drive, Blood Sweat and Tears, Lauren Nero and Pete Seeger, whom he joined with on the Sloop Clearwater as a crew member of the vessel that traveled up and down the east coast, performing concerts at each port they visited, sending an environmental message of distress to the nation.

Don McLean Nudie’s shirt 1974 stage-worn in AmsterdamIn 1969, McLean scored his first Billboard Hot 100 singles, “Castles in the Air” with the flipside “And I Love You So,” from his debut album Tapestry. “And I Love You So” became the most recorded song ever written by Don McLean with over 50 versions recorded. But it would be his next album American Pie that would rocket McLean’s career as an international superstar with its titular single becoming a worldwide phenomenon and entry into the American lexicon. The mythic eight-minute-long song with its poetic phrase, “the day the music died,” in reference to the tragic 1959 plane crash that took the lives of rock legends Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, gave voice to his generation’s disillusionment of American society and a loss of innocence as the tumultuous Sixties gave way to the uncertain Seventies. The smash hit single was Number One on the U.S. Billboard Chart for four weeks in 1972 and topped the charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The album was Number One in the UK for 7 weeks in 1972, and in the UK charts for 53 consecutive weeks. (photo left: custom Nudie’s shirt 1974 stage-worn in Amsterdam)

Garth Brooks Live from Central Park” Martin D-45 guitarAmerican Pie received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance (Male), Record of the Year, and Song of the Year and the album’s second single “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” an emotional tribute to the artist Vincent Van Gogh, charted in the U.S. and the U.K., and ranked Billboard’s Top 100 songs for the year. McLean was the inspiration of another classic hit single, “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by singer/songwriter Lori Lieberman, who recorded and released the song after watching McLean perform at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1971. Roberta Flack’s 1973 version of the song was a Number One hit in the U.S., Australia, and Canada and charted in the UK Singles Chart, earning her Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1974. In 1996, the Fugees’ version sung by Lauryn Hill on lead vocals went to Number One in twenty countries, earning them the Grammy for Best R&B Performance for a Duo or Group. Both versions by Roberta Flack and the Fugees were placed in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list in 2021.

Throughout the rest of the ‘70s, McLean would sell-out concert shows worldwide famously performing at venues such as Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and London’s Hyde Park, recorded the albums Don McLean, Playin’ Favorites, Prime Time and produced his other classic hits “The Pride Parade,” “Mountains of Mourne” and his rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday.” His album Chain Lightning recorded in Nashville with backing vocals from Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, integrated country music into his diverse sound of rock and roll and folk and produced the single “Crying” which rocketed to Number Five in the U.S. and Number One in the rest of the world. In the 1980s, McLean charted with “Since I Don’t Have You,” a new recording of “Castles in the Air,” “It’s Just the Sun” and released the 1987 country music album Love Tracks which produced the U.S. and Australia chart toppers “Love in My Heart,” “Can’t Blame the Wreck on the Train,” and “Eventually.” (photo right: “Garth Brooks Live from Central Park” Martin D-45 guitar)

Restitol brand 1980 photo shoot worn western hatWith the 1990s-2000s came a resurgence for McLean and the popularity of “American Pie” – as his signature song broke the U.K. Top Ten and led to several famous performances including Top of the Pops in 1991 and his appearance alongside Garth Brooks and Billy Joel before an audience of over a million in New York’s Central Park. “Weird Al” Yankovic released his Star Wars-themed parody of “American Pie,” “The Saga Begins,” and in 2000, Madonna recorded a cover version of the song that charted Number One in both the U.K. and the U.S. (photo left: Restitol brand 1980 photo shoot worn western hat)

In 2001, “American Pie” was voted one of the top five “Songs of the Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts whose list includes veritable landmarks, “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. Don McLean was the only artist who wrote and sang his own song on that list. In 2002, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and in 2004, McLean himself was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. “American Pie” held the record as the longest song ever to reach Number One for almost 50 years until Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” broke the record in 2021.

Ricardo western spursIn 2012, the life and career of McLean was celebrated in the PBS documentary film Don McLean: American Troubadour produced by four-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jim Brown. Other achievements and accolades bestowed upon McLean include: a BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, the 2017 designation of “American Pie” as a “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” sound recording in need of permanent preservation by the Library of Congress, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) plaques for gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales in the U.S. and seven other countries such as Australia, France and the UK, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more. (photo right: Ricardo western spurs and below left: Bohlin brand sterling silver buckle monogrammed with McLean’s initials “DM”)

Bohlin brand sterling silver buckle monogrammed with McLean’s initials DMMcLean’s musical discography has been recorded by artists such as Garth Brooks, Perry Como, Drake, Josh Groban and George Michael and lionized in pop culture with the appearances of “American Pie” in the Avengers installment film, Black Widow and “And I Love You So” at Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding. In 2020, he released his new album, Still Playin’ Favorites under his new contract at Time Life with whom he released 11 albums containing 173 tracks.

The 50th anniversary of “American Pie” coming this September 2022 has been feted with a new version of the song (recorded with the a cappella group Home Free) which held the Number One spot on the country music video charts, a new children’s book, and a documentary from Paramount +: The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie, which explored the genesis and significance of McLean’s signature song as well as the ongoing analysis and debate over its lyrics. In celebration of this milestone, McLean will embark on a world tour with an extensive run of concerts in the U.S., the UK, Scandinavia and more.

Special exhibitions in Europe and the U.S. for the public to view highlighted items prior to the auction will be held at The Museum of Style Icons in Newbridge, Ireland from October 6th-November 3rd and at the Hard Rock Cafe New York November 7th-November 13th.

“Julien’s Auctions is honored to present this esteemed collection of one of the most influential singers and songwriters of our time, whose artistic genius and poetry defined America, Don McLean,” said Darren Julien, President/CEO of Julien’s Auctions. “We are delighted to offer Mr. McLean’s most precious artifacts and personal mementos from his illustrious life and career during this momentous occasion of the 50th anniversary of the release of his magnum opus, ‘American Pie.””

Highlights announced today include (with estimates):

American Pie Album Cover-Worn ShirtAmerican Pie Album Cover-Worn Shirt ($3,000 - $5,000) An important piece representing a key moment of Don McLean’s storied career is this ribbed crimson shirt, worn on the front and back sleeve of his iconic 1971 album American Pie. In his autobiography Don McLean: American Troubadour, McLean reminisces about the day the cover shoot took place: “It was early 1971 and we were in the early stages of putting the elements for the second album together when Mediarts sent me out to Los Angeles to do some cover shots with George Whiteman, a fashion photographer and portrait photographer. If I hadn’t already known he was successful, the parade of models through his waiting room and the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud parked in his driveway would’ve told me. After we introduced ourselves, he said, ‘Come on, let’s go paint your thumb.’” Today the album is recognized for its cultural significance and enduring impact and for its iconic image of McLean donning the shirt and showing his hand with his thumb painted as the American flag held up.

Don McLean First Stringed Instrument 1955 Gretsch UkuleleFirst Stringed Instrument 1955 Gretsch Ukulele ($1,000 - $2,000) The first musical instrument ever owned by Don McLean, a Gretsch ukulele gifted to him by his parents for Christmas in 1955. The ten-year-old McLean had seen Arthur Godfrey playing a ukulele on television and decided it would be easy enough to learn to play since it only had four strings but wanted it to look more like a guitar. In his autobiography Don McLean: American Troubadour, he recalls customizing the ukulele: “I saved my money and went to the House of Music and bought a set of cheap guitar tuners, cut them in half, and screwed them on, very badly, on my Dad’s workbench.”

Tapestry Album Cover and Stage-Worn Mattress Ticking Cloth Shirt ($2,000 - $3,000) A blue and white striped shirt designed, created and worn by Don McLean on the cover of his debut album Tapestry as well as stage-worn during multiple performances, including a live on-stage concert performance with folk legend Pete Seeger.

Solo Album Studio-Played and Stage-Played 1929 Martin 000-28 GuitarSolo Album Studio-Played and Stage-Played 1929 Martin 000-28 Guitar ($10,000 - $20,000) A 1929 Martin 000-28 herringbone acoustic guitar acquired by Don McLean in Santa Monica, California during the 1970s, and used exclusively by him c.1971-1975. Described by McLean as his “number one guitar for a long time,” this beautiful vintage instrument was used extensively by McLean while touring in the U.K., including all of the recordings that would go into his 1976 first double live album, Solo and during the recording of his 1974 fifth studio album, Homeless Brother.

Solo Album Cover-Worn Nudie’s Shirt ($2,000 - $3,000) A custom dijon yellow Nudie’s shirt, worn by Don McLean on the cover of his album Solo.

1974 Amsterdam Stage-Worn Nudie’s Shirt ($2,000 - $3,000) A custom Nudie’s shirt, stage-worn by Don McLean while performing live on-stage on February 15, 1974 at the Grand Gala in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Don McLean First Stringed Instrument 1955 Gretsch UkuleleCarnegie Hall Stage-Played 1957 Martin D-28 Guitar ($7,000 - $9,000) A 1957 Martin D-28 acoustic guitar favored by Don McLean for special live performances throughout the 1980s, including during his appearance at Carnegie Hall backed by The Jordanaires.

Photoshoot Worn Cowboy Hat ($600 - $800) A tan felt Restitol brand western hat signed and worn by Don McLean during an April 1980 photoshoot at his home in Garrison, New York, with one of the photos later being featured on the cover of the piano/vocal/ guitar songbook titled The Songs Of Don McLean.

Don McLean Signed Custom Cowboy Boots ($600 - $800) A pair of custom-made western boots featuring a green toe, crown, and top trim, as well as a yellow shaft with a bird and floral design in blue, purple, and red. Signed “Don McLean” in black marker in the interior. Also written in the interior in red ink reads, “McLean,” as well as “4” in black ink.

Vintage Ricardo Cowboy Spurs ($100 - $200) A vintage pair of Ricardo brand western spurs with Cowperson Tack brand leather straps, from the personal collection of Don McLean.

Gucci Sunglasses ($300 - $500) Don McLean owned and worn pair of Gucci brand GG0872S sunglasses with brass frames and green lenses.

A diamond and 14k gold ring, personally owned by Don McLeanDiamond and 14k Gold Ring ($1,000 - $2,000) A diamond and 14k gold ring, personally owned by Don McLean.

Bohlin Leather Belt with Monogrammed Sterling Silver Buckle ($300 - $500) An Edward H. Bohlin brand hand-tooled leather belt, studded with hearts and medallions and bearing a sterling silver buckle monogrammed with McLean’s initials “DM.”

Randall Brand Survival Knife ($400 - $600) A Randall brand model 14 knife with 7.5-inch blade with original leather sheath and sharpening stone.

Don McLean’s Oyster Perpetual Datejust wristwatch by RolexBohlin Sterling Silver “Cowboy Boot” Money Clip ($200 - $300) A Bohlin brand sterling silver money clip bearing a raised cowboy boot with spurs design with original pouch and box with paperwork.

Stage-Played “Garth Brooks – Live from Central Park” Martin D-45 Guitar ($7,000 - $9,000) A Martin D-45 acoustic guitar used extensively by Don McLean while on the road, including during his guest performance of “American Pie” to close the 1997 Garth Brooks free concert in Central Park, New York City.

Rolex Watch ($5,000 - $7,000) Don McLean’s Oyster Perpetual Datejust wristwatch by Rolex.

A handtooled leather horse saddle, custom-made for Don McLean by Dave Clowes of Dave’s Saddle & TackVintage Schwinn Jaguar Bicycle ($600 - $800) Don McLean’s original American-made Schwinn brand Mark II Jaguar bicycle in opalescent red.

Songwriters Hall of Fame Gibson J-185 Guitar ($3,000 - $5,000) A 2004 Gibson J-185 acoustic guitar gifted to Don McLean when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame that year.

Custom-Made Monogrammed Horse Saddle ($2,000 - $3,000) A handtooled leather horse saddle, custom-made for Don McLean by Dave Clowes of Dave’s Saddle & Tack, bearing McLean’s monogrammed initials on the seat back and each back corner with a matching pair of hand-tooled leather saddle bags, monogrammed with McLean’s initials.

JULIEN’S AUCTIONS LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTIONS
Hard Rock Cafe New York 
1501 Broadway-Times Square
New York
NY10036

PUBLIC EXHIBITION
Exhibition: Tuesday, November 8th, 2022 – Friday, November 13th, 2022
11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time Daily
Free to the public

JULIEN’S AUCTIONS LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION

Friday, November 11th, 2022
Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll: Property from the Life and Career of Don McLean
Session I (Lots 1-375): 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time

Saturday, November 12th, 2022
Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll: Property from the Archives of Steve Vai
Session II (Lots 376-718): 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time

Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll
Session III (Lots 719-981)

Sunday, November 13th, 2022
Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll
Session III continued (Lots 982-1578): 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time

 

For inquiries, please email info@juliensauctions.com or call 310-836-1818.

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About Julien's Auctions

Julien’s Auctions is the world record-breaking auction house to the stars. Collaborating with the famous and the exclusive, Julien’s Auctions produces high profile auctions in the film, music, art and sports markets. Julien’s Auctions has received international recognition for its unique and innovative auction events, which attract thousands of collectors, investors, fans and enthusiasts from around the world. Julien’s Auctions specializes in sales of iconic artifacts and notable collections including Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Banksy, Cher, Michael Jackson, U2, Barbra Streisand, Les Paul, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Hugh Hefner, Pelé and many more.

In 2016, Julien’s realized $5 million in the historic auction of the Brazilian soccer icon, three-time World Cup Champion and FIFA Player of the Century’s collection of memorabilia, personal property and awards, which featured the sale of Pelé’s 3 World Cup Gold medals, sold for a combined total of US $970,992 (£674,300), including his 1970 World Cup winner’s medal sold for $427,100 (£346,000), which set world records for the most expensive Pelé item and the most expensive soccer medal ever sold at auction. In 2020, Julien’s shattered multiple records of sports jerseys sold at auction in the sale of a trio of historic #23 basketball jerseys worn by Michael Jordan (his historic 1984 “Signing Day” official Chicago Bulls rookie #23 which sold for $320,000, a new world record sale for a jersey worn by the 14 Time All-Star and five-time MVP legend), Barack Obama (the forty-fourth U.S. President’s 1979 #23 Punahou School jersey which sold for $192,000, a new world record selling price for a high school jersey) and Lebron James (the NBA legend’s 2003-2004 official Cleveland Cavaliers rookie year NBA jersey rookie season which sold for $128,000) which combined totaled $640,000 as well as Colin Kaepernick’s official San Francisco 49ers rookie jersey which sold for $128,000, a new world record for most expensive NFL jersey sold at auction. Other notable Sports memorabilia sold by Julien’s Auctions include Babe Ruth’s 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers coaching uniform which sold for $187,500 and NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s 1974 Dodge Charger Daytona race-winning car which sold for $500,000.

In 2016, Julien’s Auctions received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, The Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress which sold for $4.8 million. Julien’s Auctions achieved placement in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 for the sale of Michael Jackson’s white glove, which sold for $480,000 making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction. In 2020, Julien’s Auctions received its third Guinness Book of World Record placement for the sale of Kurt Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar, which sold for $6 million making it the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold at auction. In 2022, Julien’s Auctions sold the world’s second most expensive guitar ever sold at auction with Kurt Cobain’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video 1969 Fender Mustang electric guitar, which sold for $4.5 million.

Based in Los Angeles, Julien’s Auctions has a global presence bringing their auctions and exhibitions to targeted destinations worldwide including London, New York, Las Vegas, Japan and China. Live auctions are presented for bidders on-site and online via live streaming video and mobile technology. For more information on Julien’s Auctions, go to www.juliensauctions.com.

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