Friday, May 24, 2024

Bye Bye American Pie: The Tragic Demise of Folk Pop Singer Don McLean’s Reputation As Daughter Joins Ex Wife with Accusations of Mental Abuse


It’s pretty much over at this point for pop folk singer Don McLean, famous for the hits “American Pie” and “Vincent.”

In 2016, his wife of 27 years, Patrisha, obtained an order of protection against him today after a domestic dispute turned into an arrest. She divorced him and got a ten year order of protection.

In her complaint, Patrisha wrote that Don has access to firearms, had a gun, knives, and a baseball bat in his car. She said he told her, “If I have a stroke (over my leaving) I will get my gun and kill you.” She also said that she is Jewish, and that he called her a “Hebe.” She claimed on one night he terrorized her four hours until she called 911.

McLean denied everything but at the same time, five years ago, he had a 20 year old girlfriend named Paris Dylan, an Instagram blow up doll who advertised their relationship and 50 year age difference.

Now McLean’s daughter, Jackie, also a folk singer, age 31, has told all to Rolling Stone, confirming her mother’s allegations and adding her own. Left out of writer Althea Legaspi’s excellent story is Jackie’s brother, Wyatt, and the aforementioned Paris Dylan, whose current Instagram account is a throwback to the era of Bette Page type pin ups. (You could say she’s kept abreast of the situation.)

Two months after the 2016 arrest, McLean, now 75, Tweeted this response to his family implosion: “My wife has chosen divorce. She has chosen to characterize our 30 year relationship in a completely distorted and untrue manner. We raised two gentle highly educated children in an environment of laughter, music and literature.”

Since that time, Patrisha McLean has gone to speak to groups about marriage and abuse.

Jackie’s new allegations and revelations in Rolling Stone aren’t completely new. In June 2016, she posted a blog that read, in part: “My father was afraid to let us leave the house. He always told us that it was dangerous outside. Friends were not allowed to come over.”

She continued: “My father could never forgive us for growing up. He wanted to keep us, his lost children, in a Peter Pan fantasy. Every sign of growth caused an outburst, a strain on the bubble that contained us. As I got older, I took to hiding in my room more and more. My very appearance was evidence of my failure to stay the way he wanted me to. Every day he talked wistfully about the good times when we were immobile, mute, helpless against any influence. “I remember when you were first born,” he’d say, “you were the first thing that was ever completely mine.”

That blog post is gone now. In Rolling Stone, Jackie says Don begged, threatened and bribed to get it taken down. There was a short period of rapprochement between  them before McLean reverted to his abusive ways. There’s no mention of Wyatt in the RS piece, although you can find him online. He’s a talented singer-songwriter, but no doubt done in by the public airing of his family’s problems. You can only feel sympathy for him, Jackie and Patrisha.

So it’s not that Don McLean is “cancelled.” He’s cancelled himself. We can listen to his early records from the 70s and feel nostalgic about them. They stand the test of time. But this Don McLean, now that we know what he’s done, is not to be celebrated. He’s made approximately $125 million in life. That’s enough. To give him one more penny is to condone what he’s done to his family. There’s no excuse for that.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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