American Pie Don McLean talks to me and my money

The best economic move singer Don McLean has ever made was to fight for ownership of all his songs in the 1980s.

McLean, 76, who made a name for himself in the hit song American Pie in 1971, told Donna Ferguson that he consistently believed he was one of the top earners in the world.

Starting next September, he will be doing a 50th Anniversary American Pie Tour in the UK. Tickets are available at

Fortune: Don McLean, painted in 1973, has created millions of royalties.

What did your parents teach you about money?

My dad told me not to use it. I never had it unless I was working for it because he never wanted me to use it. Another thing my dad put in my head was not to borrow money. Buy only what you can afford. My dad had a white-collar job. He was the district manager of a local utility company in New York. My mother didn’t work. She was at home, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, making food, and going shopping.

Was the money tight when you were growing up?

My dad lived a decent life, but all the money was spoken. I didn’t have the money to throw it away or cheat. The play “The Death of a Salesman” is the story of my father. He repaid a $ 7,000 mortgage for 30 years and then burned his mortgage certificate in an ashtray. When they set the fire, he said in the play what they say: “Now we are free and clear.”

And shortly thereafter, when I was 15, he died. My mother couldn’t afford to stay home. But I said to her, “If you sell this house, I’ll leave, and I’ll never talk to you again.” So she decided to rent it, and I decided to get out of it and do something with music.

Have you ever had a hard time achieving your goals?

No, I never lived beyond my own means and did not borrow money. I have always been able to make a living from music. I gave lessons, did a little show, played at a birthday party, and did my own show.

Have you ever been paid stupid money?

My song, American Pie, has been used in several Chevrolet ads and earns millions of dollars in licensing fees. I didn’t have to play a song or do anything other than say “yes” to a lot of money.

What was the best fiscal year in your life?

Every year is the best fiscal year in my life because I get better as I get older. But if you choose a staggering year, the American Pie would have been released in 1971. It became number one and I broke from someone who had nothing and earned over $ 1 million.

Of course, taxes and fees took much of that money: over 70 percent. The first thing I did with my new success was to buy a house in Garrison, NY, a beautiful place to live. I also gave my mother the money she needed to get home after renting a house for years. She stayed there until she died. So I got over my destiny.

The most expensive thing you bought for fun?

I buy a lot of expensive things. But the most impressive and best was the electric blue Mercedes 450 SEL with palomino leather seats. The cost in 1973 was $ 18,000, which is the same as spending £ 83,500 on today’s cars.

The best money decision you made?

Fighting for ownership of all my songs in the 1980s. I had to fight a lot of people in court and finally won everything. I don’t want to put numbers on the value of my catalog, but it’s big and profitable. It could be worth a nine-digit amount, so it’s over $ 100 million.

How much did you make from an American pie?

do not know. I make money from every song. Of course, American pies make more than others, but not so much. In terms of my career, I’ve made huge sums of money by all standards over the last 50 years. I’m always in the top ten percent of the earners. I am very grateful.

Return: Don McLean Starts 50th Anniversary Tour Next Year

Return: Don McLean Starts 50th Anniversary Tour Next Year

Do you want to save on your pension?

No, before. I started in 1972. Now it’s paying. I wasn’t really wondering if saving on a pension was a good way to cover my severance pay. I made a lot more money than I could put in that little account. I have never thought so much. And it has grown, grown, and improved over the years.

Are you investing directly in the stock market?

No, I won’t do it anymore. I don’t understand this market, so I don’t want to get involved right now. In the past, I’ve invested in real estate and US Treasuries that you could get high yields on. Now that you can’t get anything, if you have money and don’t invest for a while, it’s a good time to sit down and see what’s going on.

Do you have a property?

Oh yeah. I have 4 houses. The two are in Maine. One of them has 20 bedrooms, 5 kitchens, a swimming pool and 175 acres of vast grounds. There is a blueberry field. That’s where I keep my horse. I got it very cheap 30 years ago, and it’s now worth a lot of money: a medium 8-digit total in dollars. We also have two homes in Palm Desert, California, with very nice homes and condos.

What if you were the prime minister?

I stop giving people free money. I will then relieve them, I will not stop the cold. I plan them for 6 or 8 months and say: Lower to zero. And by that time you will have to work. ”

That way, these people have time to realize that there are so many workarounds that it’s better to get off the donkey and start looking for a job. In the United States, companies can’t leave work to anyone.

What are your top financial priorities?

Be independent. I don’t want to rely on anyone. I value my financial freedom too much.

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American Pie Don McLean talks to me and my money

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