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#MusicMonday: Don McLean - Vincent


“In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms,” he says. “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.” - Don McLean

Starry, starry night Paint your palette blue and grey Look out on a summer's day With eyes that know the darkness in my soul Shadows on the hills Sketch the trees and the daffodils Catch the breeze and the winter chills In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand What you tried to say to me And how you suffered for your sanity And how you tried to set them free They would not listen, they did not know how Perhaps they'll listen now

Starry, starry night Flaming flowers that brightly blaze Swirling clouds in violet haze Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue Colors changing hue Morning fields of amber grain Weathered faces lined in pain Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand


Now I understand What you tried to say to me And how you suffered for your sanity And how you tried to set them free They would not listen, they did not know how Perhaps they'll listen now

For they could not love you But still your love was true And when no hope was left in sight On that starry, starry night You took your life, as lovers often do But I could have told you, Vincent This world was never meant for one As beautiful as you

Starry, starry night Portraits hung in empty halls Frameless heads on nameless walls With eyes that watch the world and can't forget Like the strangers that you've met The ragged men in the ragged clothes The silver thorn, a bloody rose Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know What you tried to say to me And how you suffered for your sanity And how you tried to set them free They would not listen, they're not listening still Perhaps they never will


Songwriters: Don McLean

Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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