Herein lies a logical enough follow-up to yesterday's high-falutin' Flackery....
To his credit, DON McLEAN has spent the better part of his career downplaying the phenomenon that was/is "American Pie." I remember that a "cool" eighth-grade social studies teacher of mine at Oliver Wendell Holmes Middle School played this song as part of a lesson-plan back in '83 or '84. (For the record, he also played BILLY JOEL's "Allentown" -- or was it "Goodnight Saigon"? -- which maybe puts a bit of a dent in the "cool" thing.)
Whatever the case, McLean had quite the voice. Hell, even the great ROY ORBISON thought so -- giving the thumbs-up to McLean's hit version of "Crying" in the early '80s. High praise, indeed.
[MP3] "American Pie" 
[MP3] "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)" 
[MP3] "Castles in the Air" 
[MP3] "Crying" [ROY ORBISON cover]