'American Pie' singer says he is 'not a villain'


New York (AFP)

Don McLean, the singer of the classic song "American Pie," has pleaded for public understanding after his arrest for domestic violence.

Police detained the 70-year-old folk rocker at his home in the northeastern state of Maine on Monday after his wife reportedly called about abuse.

"What is occurring is the very painful breakdown of an almost 30-year relationship," McLean said in a statement on his website Thursday.

"Our hearts are broken and we must carry on. There are no winners or losers but I am not a villain," he added.

McLean said he hoped "to continue to entertain you as I always have" and added: "I hope I will not be judged in this frantic media environment."

His wife, Patrisha McLean, said in a statement to the New York Daily News: "Don is not a monster."

Details remained murky of the incident but the gossip site TMZ said that McLean threatened to strangle her in an alleged four-hour assault.

"American Pie," released in 1971, has often been ranked among the greatest songs in pop history with its account of the historical upheavals of the late 20th century.

The song recalls forlornly "The Day the Music Died" -- the 1959 plane crash in Iowa that killed early rockers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and "The Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson.