American Pie, the 1971 anthem inducted into the GRAMMY hall of fame and later covered by Eddie Vedder and Madonna, catapulted songwriter Don McLean from his humble beginnings at Caffè Lena to international stardom. For years the tune has been said to have its origins in Saratoga Springs. Legend has it that while drinking, McLean wrote the song’s lyrics on a napkin at the Tin and Lint bar just down the street from the Caffè where he’d performed earlier that night. According to the story retold by the bar’s owner, Saratoga community members, and storyteller Utah Phillips, McLean passed out and his buddies saved his napkin to return to him. For years, including in a 2005 interview recorded for the Caffè Lena History Project archives, Don McLean has refuted the story stating that he wrote the song in Philadelphia.
Still the legend persists. The landmark T&L bar is now marked with a plaque that visitors rub for good luck. Don McLean’s name is still scribbled on the Caffè Lena bathroom walls, where a new generation of songwriters are writing their own legendary tunes. For more information about Caffè Lena CLICK HERE.
Saratoga Springs is home to numerous bars, taverns, and restaurants that are home to significant and impactful history, not to mention local gossip and tall tales. Contact Premiere Transportation Group today to organize an outing and tour of Saratoga Springs, NY. From pub crawls to historic home tours, Premiere Transportation Group will escort you from door to door in comfort. Let us know where you want to go!