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  • Covered Up - "And I Love You So" is one of his songs, but has been covered by Elvis and was a hit for Perry Como. In reverse, McLean's "Crying," a huge hit, was originally performed by Roy Orbison.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory - The well known "American Pie" is about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper
  • Genius Bonus - Several. "American Pie" contains references to events and people who were notable in McLean's childhood. Furthermore, "the Levee" is not a levee, but a bar (giving the phrase "but the Levee was dry" an entirely new meaning).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff - "Crying" and "Vincent" did much better in the UK, both reaching #1 (in fact they did better than "American Pie" which reached #2.)
  • Technician Versus Performer: A superb singer and songwriter, but also the only performer this troper has ever seen who actually has a negative stage presence.
  • Tough Act to Follow - "American Pie"
  • Weird Al Effect - His kids were such big fans of Weird Al and have played "The Saga Begins" so much, that even Don has mixed up some of the lyrics of "American Pie" with the parody while preforming it.
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