Over Don McLean
Just as Mike Lookinland will always be known for playing the part of Bobby Brady in the popular Sherwood Schwartz televised situation comedy The Brady Bunch, Don McLean will forever be the guy who wrote the classic hit song "American Pie." When you write a song as epic as that one, how can anything else match up? Like many other singer-songwriters of his era, McLean was a New York City village folknik who got his start in the same coffee houses as Fred Neil and Pete Seeger. By 1970, he had already penned "Vincent," his soft rock ode to Van Gogh, but it didn't hit until after he scored with the career defining "American Pie," an eight-minute long epic tribute to the life and music of Buddy Holly. The timely song struck a chord with a nation still bruised by Vietnam and the Nixon administration. Young America's reaction to this song was to adopt it as a pacifist's anthem. Roberta Flack's hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song" was in fact about her reaction to first hearing "American Pie." McLean never had anything close to the success of that hit, but the man stuck to his guns and refused his record label's request to try and recreate another "American Pie." As a result his career spiraled downward ever since, although it's probably safe to assume that the royalties for his monumental contribution to popular culture keep him afloat.