Lost charity Strat signed by Brian in 2008 surfaced – now signed by Don McLean


American Pie legend McLean signs up to Rainbows guitar
14 May 2018 (approx)

Dave Allen (left) and Andy Goss, from Rainbows
Dave Allen (left) and Andy Goss, from Rainbows

Legendary American singer/songwriter Don McLean has backed Rainbows Hospice – by adding his mark to a guitar signed by leading rock icons to raise cash for the East Midlands charity.

The Fender Stratocaster, featuring the signatures of some of the world’s leading guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Brian May and Jimmy Page, went missing 10 years ago and was only recovered by Leicestershire police earlier this year, after appearing on eBay.

Dave Allen, a former music promoter from Market Harborough, initially launched the guitar project and was ‘amazed’ when the instrument re-surfaced after being ‘lost’ for a decade. But he vowed to add further big names before the Stratocaster – said to be worth a five-figure sum – is sold at auction for Rainbows in December.

McLean, famous for penning and recording iconic songs including American Pie and Vincent, said he was ‘honoured’ to add his name alongside rock legends like Clapton. “It is great that this is all going to help children with life-limiting conditions,” he said. And he thanked those people who supported such a charity. “It’s a wonderful thing,” he added.

Dave commented: “Don is the latest legendary name to sign the guitar – and I am incredibly thankful to him and others who have signed up to help this amazing charity by adding their names.”

McLean took time out before taking to the stage for a performance at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, during his current UK tour.

Shock Rock legend Alice Cooper has also pledged to sign the guitar next month (June) during his world tour with band, The Hollywood Vampires, whose band line-up features Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp, an accomplished rock guitarist.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Johnny Depp signed too?” said Dave with a smile. Also in his sights is Sir Paul McCartney, Rolling Stone Keith Richards, former Yardbirds guitar legend Jeff Beck and ex-Black Sabbath frontman, Ozzy Osbourne before the guitar is auctioned.

Andy Goss, Rainbows Supporter Relations, said: “The story of this guitar is amazing – as are the names who have left their mark on the Stratocaster to help youngsters with life-limiting conditions and their families. And we take our hat off to Dave for his incredible efforts and determination to complete his remarkable project to support our work at the hospice.”

American Pie legend Don McLean signs Rainbows charity guitar
14 May 2018 by WBWire

Signed Stratocaster
Signed Stratocaster



Lost in the post, the £20,000 charity guitar signed by the stars
7 December 2007 by Andy Dolan

Brian May after signing Rainbows guitar in 2007
Brian May after signing Rainbows guitar in 2007

Rock legends happily signed the guitar Dave Allen carried with him on a fundraising crusade. Rather than risk losing it in the post, the music promoter or a member of his staff would personally ferry the Fender Stratocaster around the country . But just weeks before the instrument – boasting the signatures of Eric Clapton, Brian May, Jimmy Page and Bill Wyman, among others – was due to fetch around £20,000 at auction for a children’s charity, it has vanished. Unable to find anyone to carry it home from a signing by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, Mr Allen entrusted it to couriers Parcelforce for the first time – and they promptly lost it. Yesterday Mr Allen said he was “gutted” at the news as he contemplated starting the year-long project again from scratch.

The guitar disappeared last month while in the care of Parcelforce en route from Knopfler’s London office to Mr Allen’s home in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. The firm has spent four weeks scanning closed-circuit TV footage of its premises and searching depots in a futile bid to track down the missing instrument, which also featured the signatures of Gary Moore, Pete Townshend of The Who and Hollywood actor and blues musician Steven Seagal. Parcelforce has now offered Mr Allen, of Mad Hatters Concerts, £15,000 as a gesture of goodwill.

Yesterday the promoter told how he had been reluctant to leave the guitar in the post for fear it would go missing – but his hand was forced when other commitments left nobody free to drop it off. He said: “You hear about things going missing in the post all the time and that’s why I made sure the guitar was personally escorted, except for this one occasion. What I don’t understand is how something as large as a Stratocaster can just disappear. Everybody is very, very deflated. It started in January with Steven Seagal and it just snowballed from there. People like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page are the real A-listers in the world of rock and roll, which made it a nice piece. I was devastated when I found out. I was in a state of shock. It was the first and only time we had let the guitar out of our hands.”

Mr Allen had also planned to secure the signatures of Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen before the guitar went under the hammer later this month. Profits were due to go to the Loughborough-based Rainbows Hospice for children.

A Parcelforce spokesman said: “We apologise sincerely for the loss and continue our efforts to trace the parcel. We have made a donation to Rainbows Hospice as a gesture of goodwill.”

The guitar, donated by a music industry employee who had heard about Mr Allen’s project, was insured only for its £600 face value. Brian May has already been in touch with Mr Allen, offering to resign another guitar.