1. ITV Report

Don McLean to sell more memorabilia after American Pie lyrics go for £805,000

The American Pie lyrics are just the first of Don McLean's sales Photo: Reuters

Don McLean has told ITV News he will be selling off more from his music collection after the handwritten lyrics to his smash hit American Pie were bought for more than £800,000.

The singer revealed he was "surprised" when the 16 pages that included several drafts of the hit song which got to number two in 1972 sold at auction for £805,574, even though that was the figure that auctioneers Christie's had estimated.

In an interview with ITV News, the multi-million selling artist added that he was "lightening the load" and would have donated the lyrics if they hadn't sold.

"I have other things I'm going to sell," McLean said.

"I'm going to be 70 years old this year and I just embarked on a programme to lighten the load and get rid of things.

"I hadn't thought about the lyrics much. They were upstairs in a box of lyrics probably a foot thick with all kinds of songs I'd written that people know. But, of course there's no song like that song and so I decided to sell them and see what happens."

"I know that people feel like that song belongs to the public so I thought a public auction would be the best thing to do."

The song is famous for its line "the day the music died" which refers to the deaths of rock 'n' roll pioneers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper in a 1959 air crash.

McLean was 14 at the time and working as a paper boy - "the only job I ever had", he said.

Asked about the meaning of the song, he agreed that American Pie was concerned with corruption and a loss of innocence but said there was much more to it.

"It's a bit of a loss of innocence, a loss of a lot of things, but... it's also a personal story."

McLean added that the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame wanted his lyrics but he refused because "they didn't want me".

"I've never been in the rock n roll Hall of Fame, I'm an outsider. I've been very famous all my life. Many people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame but I haven't because I'm a contrarian.

"The wanted my lyrics but I said to them 'well, you don't want me in the Hall of Fame so to hell with you'."