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Don McLean: Being American Means Trying Again After Losing

“American Pie” singer Don McLean believes that being an American means everyone should get “fair play” and “respect,” and that you should never give up when you lose.

When asked by Fox News Digital about what it means to live in the USA ahead of the Fourth of July, the 78-year-old singer shared, “You don’t have to win all the time, but if you lose, you realize you lost because you weren’t good enough, so you’ve got to make yourself better, and you’re going to win next time.”

He emphasized that life isn’t about always having to be a winner. “I always have to be a winner, or I’m a nothing.’ No, you’ve got to be a loser first, man. I lost a lot. I was down a lot,” McLean said. He recounted experiences where he faced many setbacks. Drawing inspiration from his own life, he added, “I get up, you know, and I dust myself off, just like the song says, and start all over again.”

McLean also touched on the subject of songwriting, stating that experiencing “pain” is crucial to creating music that resonates with people. “There’s a lot of pain, you know, if you want to be a songwriter,” said McLean, who lost his father at the young age of 15. “If you’re not hurting, you’re no good as a songwriter. You know, if you have everything work out perfectly for you, you’ve got nothing to say, you know? And you certainly can’t relate to the average person out there who has all sorts of f—ing bad things in his life.”

In his observation, people facing struggles seek harmony in music to feel understood. “People who are struggling want to find some harmony with your music so that they can feel that you understand them a little, and I do. I’ve been there,” McLean explained.

Reflecting on the life of Frank Sinatra, McLean highlighted Sinatra’s resilience as one of the traits fans admire about the legendary singer. He quoted Sinatra’s famous line, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” from the song “New York, New York.” McLean noted how Sinatra repeatedly managed to start over despite numerous personal and professional challenges, including losing his voice, tumultuous relationships, and more. “He had that American grit and that pluck. You get up off the ground, dust yourself off,” McLean shared.

McLean believes there is a noticeable difference in the resilience of some individuals. Giving himself as an example, he stated, “I was broke, but I was never poor.” According to him, today’s individuals might be financially well-off but poorer in spirit. “People are poorer now [when] they have more money than they ever were when they were broke, because they don’t understand how great they are and how much they have inside, and they’ve given up,” he observed.

Addressing the misconception around financial wealth and self-worth, McLean said, “You can have money and still not have that feeling inside, like, ‘I can make it anywhere.’” He underscored that this mindset is fundamental to the American spirit. “I never stop feeling that way. Nobody ever told me – I was always better than all those other guys, OK? Nothing set me back. That’s America,” he concluded.

Source: Fox News