Step back to 1969 when McLean recorded his first album "Tapestry" in Berkeley as student riots erupted on campus. He peddled that album to 72 labels before Mediarts picked it up. The folk singer's first hit was "Castles In The Air" and his song "And I Love You So" became a hit for Perry Como.
By 1973, he became a star with his ballad "American Pie," his tribute to the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper in a plane crash in 1959, "the day the music died."
New York's WNEW-FM and WPLJ-FM first aired the song to mark the closing of The Fillmore East, the famous New York concert hall. Thirty years later, the song was voted No. 5 in a poll of the "365 Songs of the Century" compiled by the Recording Industry Assn. of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 2004, McLean was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has charted 40 gold and platinum records during his career.
Collins' first gained recognition with her rendition of Joni Mitchell's, "Both Sides Now" from her landmark 1967 album, "Wildflowers." Her version of "Send in the Clowns," a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical "A Little Night Music," won song of the year at the 1975 Grammy Awards.
In 2008, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Arlo Gutherie, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album “Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.”
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