Mainer Don McLean Recalls Performing At Alex Trebek’s Christmas Party
The music icon performed at Alex Trebek's final Christmas party, and relives that night for us.
The party happened at Vitellos Italian restaurant in Studio City, California, back on December 18th of last year, and the Camden resident and writer of such classics as American Pie and Vincent was the entertainment.
Jeremy Westby of 2911 Media sent us an email this week which informed us how it all took place.
“Alex asked if I would come and sing for him and his Jeopardy family at his annual Christmas party last year. I was on his “bucket” list he told me, Don McLean tells us.
Alex Trebek had asked Don McLean if he would be interested in performing at the annual Christmas party via email. The original email is below:
From: Alex Trebek
Sent: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 11:06 AM
Subject: don mclean
I am thinking of having a xmas party for the staff of Jeopardy on dec 18 and was wondering if don would be interested in performing at Vitellos restaurant in studio city ca. there would be about 150 people in attendance. is this even remotely possible. its been a longtime dream of mine. not sure i even have the budget but didn’t want to not give it a try. Please give me a call. thanks Alex Trebek, 818-505-XXXX
"We planned a show and he apologized for his red complexion which he said the medication gave him. “I look like an Indian in a John Wayne movie,” Alex told me. It was a joyous and sad occasion and I was very touched that my music was that important to him", McLean now tells us.
Don McLean wrote of arriving at the Italian restaurant, only to have Alex Trebek give him a list of specific songs that he wanted to be performed, and how each had the time length next to the title.
"Anyone who knew Alex would know what a stickler he was about timing. I, of course, obliged and told him it was his show and I would do whatever he wanted me to. I kept that setlist and here it is today!” -- Don McLean
As you can see, McLean played six songs back on that night in December of 2019, including the Roy Orbison classic, Crying, along with with his own #1 hits, Vincent and American Pie. If you were there in the small intimate audience that night, it must have been easy to think that history was being made.
"There was not the slightest hint of self-pity or weakness in this man. He was elegant and dignified as you saw him on television. Old school for sure and someone who we all can learn from. I thought of him often afterward and I’ll think of him in the future and maybe try to be a little more like him”, said McLean.