I reached into the recesses of the music of our heart to reconnect with Don McLean and his début recording Tapestry (MediaArts – October 1970). I can recall hearing Don McLean’s Tapestry being played on WNEW-FM by Scott Muni on weekday afternoons in the fall of 1970. I own the MediaArts vinyl LP Scottso would spin on the airwaves.
Tapestry is a treasure chest filled with song gems all penned by Don McLean. The song that exhibits Don McLean’s clairvoyance prognosticating the future is the title track, “Tapestry”. The last two lines sum up where the fate of civilization is today with the greed of oil and gas baron’s (and the consumer) laying ruin to our planet.
Every thread of creation is held in position
by still other strands of things living.
In an earthly tapestry hung from the skyline
of smoldering cities so gray and so vulgar,
as not to be satisfied with their own negativity
but needing to touch all the living as well.
Every breeze that blows kindly is one crystal breath
we exhale on the blue diamond heaven.
As gentle to touch as the hands of the healer.
As soft as farewells whispered over the coffin.
We’re poisoned by venom with each breath we take,
from the brown sulfur chimney and the black highway snake.
Every dawn that breaks golden is held in suspension
like the yoke of the egg in albumen.
Where the birth and the death of unseen generations
are interdependent in vast orchestration
and painted in colors of tapestry thread.
When the dying are born and the living are dead.
Every pulse of your heartbeat is one liquid moment
that flows through the veins of your being.
Like a river of life flowing on since creation.
Approaching the sea with each new generation.
You’re now just a stagnant and rancid disgrace
that is rapidly drowning the whole human race.
Every fish that swims silent, every bird that flies freely,
every doe that steps softly.
Every crisp leaf that falls, all the flowers that grow
on this colorful tapestry, somehow they know.
That if man is allowed to destroy all we need.
He will soon have to pay with his life, for his greed.
© Copyright 1969, 1972 by MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC. and THE BENNY BIRD CO, INC.
All Rights Controlled and Administered by MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC.
International Copyright Secured. All Rights reserved
MCA Music Publishing
We saw Don McLean in concert on September 21, 1975 at Stamford Catholic High School. I was covering the event as a music reporter for The Entertainer a Fairfield County, Connecticut entertainment weekly newspaper. Don McLean did two shows that night. He was brilliant. My fondest memory of the night was watching him joust with reporters and radio/television station staff at the press conference between shows about “American Pie”. His press agent asked that people refrain from asking questions about American Pie. He said Don McLean was tired of answering that question. But several reporters didn’t heed that request and they really irked Don McLean. He rebuffed them with class and dignity, yet put them in their place. I respected Don McLean too much to make that mistake.
After the press conference Don McLean signed 8×10 black and white photos for us. Don McLean was the first musician autograph I secured in my now extensive music autograph collection. We exchanged some nice pleasantries about his first album, Tapestry which he humbled and honored to discuss.
I’ll never forget that I ended up walking and talking with him on his way back to the stage in the gym from the press conference in the science room. He smiled and began to played the bridge of Tapestry on his guitar for me as we walked together. It was a charismatic feeling to hear him playing that song acoustic, finger picked as it echoed in the hallway. I thanked him for playing that choice, he smiled warmly, shook my hand and said enjoy the show. His second set that night was stronger than the first. He featured music from the LP, Homeless Brother as I learned about the folk singer/protest connection he had with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.