Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don McLean - "Castles in the Air"

The Best of Don McLean (Remastered) - Don McLean

(Debuted October 31, 1981, Peaked #36, 13 Weeks on the Chart)

"Castles in the Air" has a history of resilience. It was the first song on Don McLean's debut LP Tapestry in 1970 and a single, but both were ignored despite critical acclaim. After McLean took "American Pie" to #1 in 1972, the debut album was brought out again and "Castles in the Air" was given a second chance as the B-side of McLean's followup single "Vincent." Both sides were listed during that single's chart run. In 1981, McLean rerecorded the song as the first cut on his Believers LP and enjoyed his biggest hit in years.

While the original featured a rather sparse acoustic arrangement, this version is given strings, a backing chorus and a larger, more functional band. Somehow, the song's lyrics still stand out among the added accompaniment: a country boy man grows tired of pretending to be something he isn't for a woman's affection and heads on down the road. As he leaves, he doesn't even tell her he's going. He just asks someone else to take care of an explanation.

It's a great song, though, no matter which version is playing.

(Edited to add: thanks to Hale over at this Don McLean message board for reminding me that the words "I'm city born" effectively negates what I originally wrote.)

No comments:

Post a Comment