Vincent: DON McLEAN

Australian singles chart:
Vincent entered the Kent charts on 24 April 1972 and peaked at #3. The song was #39 on the Top 100 of 1972.

The song is on American Pie which entered the Kent album chart on 6 March 1972. It reached #1 on 3 April and remained on top for 11 consecutive weeks.

Don McLean

Ed Freeman

Don McLean said the following about the genesis of Vincent:
“In the autumn of 1970, I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms. I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of ‘crazy’ – because he was rejected by a woman [as was commonly thought]. So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.”
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The opening line, “Starry, starry night,” refers to A Starry Night, one of the Dutch impressionist’s most famous paintings.
The lyrics, “Paint your palette blue and gray” reflect the prominent colors of the painting. The “ragged men in ragged clothes” and “how you tried to set them free” refer to Van Gogh’s humanitarian activities and love of the socially outcast as also reflected in his paintings and drawings. “They would not listen, they did not know how” refers to Van Gogh’s family and some associates who were critical of his kindness to “the wretched.”
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This song is also on our Spotify playlist Bang a Gong – the 70s

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