After the president of South Korea entertained US President Joe Biden with a karaoke performance of the song on Thursday, American singer-songwriter Don McLean joked that he was going to sing his iconic “American Pie” with the South Korean leader.
The two leaders got together on Wednesday at the White House state dinner, a glitzy event that attracted celebrities including Angelina Jolie and snowboarder Chloe Kim, who won an Olympic gold medal.
Following the audience’s enjoyment of a number of musical performances, Biden related a tale about how his sons would sing McLean’s 1971 hit song “American Pie” while en route to school.
“We know this is one of your favorite songs,” he told Yoon, who drew cheers from the crowd as he launched into the classic lyrics.
Yoon received a standing ovationfor his efforts beforeBiden presented him with a guitar signed by McLean.
The legendary singer later told CNN that he had big plans for the South Korean leader.
“I intend to go over to South Korea next year and sing it with the president, so that’s probably going to be another news story,” McLean joked on Thursday. “He wanted me at the White House to sing the song, but I’m in Australia right now on tour.”
McLean also spoke about the lasting legacy of the song, which at 8 minutes and 37 seconds held the record for the longest song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, until Taylor Swift re-released her hit “All Too Well” in 2021.
Of “American Pie,” McLean said: “It has a melody which is something that is pretty hard to find these days, and that’s just the opening part of the song – I mean, the song is eight and a half minutes, and it’s a rock and roll song.”
“I get a kick out of the fact that the song is still alive,” he added. “Musicians are dealing with a thing called alchemy, we deal in magic, and some of the things that we do fall on their face, and others if we’re very fortunate are magical and live forever.”
Wednesday’s events mark just the second state visit of the Biden presidency (Biden hosted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte in December 2022).
At the Wednesday bilateral meeting, the two leaders announced a key new agreement to deter North Korean aggression, including a new US commitment to deploy a nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea for the first time since the early 1980s.
Yoon also addressed Congress in a speech on Thursday, slamming North Korea over its human rights violations and condemning the war in Ukraine.