Since then he has continued to have a stellar career. Madonna covered ‘American Pie’ for a huge international hit in 1999 and Weird Al Yankovic rewrote it as ‘The Saga Begins’ to send up Star Wars. Some people were surprised that Don allowed Yankovic’s record, as though he didn’t have a sense of humour; in fact a cultural artefact can only be used for this kind of affectionate satire if it is deeply loved in the first place. Finally, ‘American Pie’ was named the fifth greatest song of the 20th Century by the NEA-RIAA (after, ‘Over The Rainbow’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘This Land Is My Land’ and ‘Respect’) and in 2002 “American Pie” was finally inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 2004 Don McLean was inaugurated into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His award was presented by Garth Brooks who paid this tribute: “Don McLean his work, like the man himself is very deep and very compassionate. His pop anthem American Pie is a cultural phenomenon, and people are still trying to decode it after 35 years! He wrote other great songs like, And I Love You So, If We Try, Wonderful Baby, Winterwood, and my personal favorite Empty Chairs, which just kills me as a fan and a songwriter.