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Starry Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh and Don Mclean

March 22, 2010

 

I was told only yesterday about this article  on Vincent Van Gogh and his painting Starry Night immortalised in song by Don Mclean in 1971. The article is an interview with the singer, Don Mclean by Helen Brown, culture and music critic for The Daily Telegraph. You can also watch and listen to a video of Mclean performing the song as you read the interview.

The story of Mclean’s inspiration for the song and the words themselves are telling of the sensitivity of the musician’s soul. It also speaks of his insight into the painter’s life and art, as Van Gogh struggled with mental illness and with his works being unappreciated during his lifetime. I don’t know the song well and I don’t know a lot about Van Gogh’s life, but I was touched listening to it and thinking about one man’s torment. His struggles for painting beauty and for personal peace.  The link is:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandpopfeatures/7264618/Don-McLean-interview-Why-I-had-to-write-Vincent.html

Thanks Helen for the touching article.

The lyrics of Don Mclean’s song – Starry Starry Night can be found below:

Starry starry night

Paint your palet 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 daffodiles
catch the breeze and the winter chills
in colours 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
colours changing hue
morning fields of amber grain
weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneth 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 inside
on that starry starry night

You took your life as lover’s often do

But I could have told you,
Vincent,
this world was never ment for one as beautiful as you

Starry starry night

Portraits hung in empty halls
framless 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 ragged clothes
a 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 now listen
they’re not listening still

Perhaps they never will

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One comment

  1. Yes, the article gave me a new insight into VVG DMc and the song Killing me Softly.



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