Don McLean praises Home Free’s “nice new version” of “American Pie”; music video for tune premieres today

Don McLean is featured on a new a cappella version of his legendary 1971 anthem “American Pie” by the country vocal quintet Home Free that was released as a digital single last week in commemoration of the song’s 50th anniversary this year.

Home Free, which won the NBC vocal-group competition The Sing-Off in 2013, reached out to McLean to see if he’d be interested in contributing to their rendition of the song, and he agreed. He wound up singing the first and last verses, and on the choruses.

McLean tells ABC Audio that he was very happy with how the recording turned out.

“They did a very good job of mixing the thing and making it listenable,” Don maintains. “[T]hat’s not easy for a long song that’s all a cappella. They’re very good at what they do, and they have a large following. And it’s a nice new version of the song done by young people in an a cappella style, where they really do understand harmony…And they do it well.”

McLean recorded his vocal part remotely for the new version of “American Pie,” and, at the same time, he was filmed for a music video for the track, which premieres today at 1 p.m. ET at Home Free’s official YouTube channel.

“We’re all in little boxes, so…it’s kind of like Hollywood Squares,” McLean says about the video. “And each person sings a verse…and there’s a lot of other stuff going on in the video, as well. It’s nice.”

The video’s premiere coincides with the 62nd anniversary of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. The incident, now known as “The Day the Music Died,” served as inspiration for McLean to write “American Pie.”

By Matt Friedlander
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