Theres debate on what he cracked the charts with but I’m gonna sit with “Mathew and Son” which charted #2. This was preceded by the lame ass tune “I Love My Dog”….yeah, lets move off that one, regardless he caught a break
Cats voice is soft and man sultry as it climbs the scales and brings an acoustic guitar to life with lyrics that make sense and are dished out with precise speech, almost as if English were his second language. Born to Greek parents perhaps the household dialect was in fact Greek. Doesn’t matter really but the factor her is the complete and perfect enunciation of words.
At the age of 19 Cat became quite ill near death he apparently had an epiphany that had him reassessing the direction of his life and career. Upon release from hospital Stevens began a feverish pursuit of all things spiritual, became a vegetarian and sought peace through meditation.
This was the turning point of his life and his work as he began writing to understand and seek solace and sanity in a world filled with turmoil.
Tea For the Tillerman, released in 1970 was Stevens true break out hit. From this album came “Father and Son” as well as “Wild World”. Cat was now on his way –Catch a Bull at Four was the follow up, a lull in my eyes, most likely his drama days where he was courting Carly Simon. The song, “Cant Keep It In” has just within the past few years taken on new meaning, that of a song of love and its a good one.
Cat is contagious. You can listen and re listen and pick up new sounds every time. Oh there were the ‘hits’ “Peace Train”, “Morning Has Broken”, ahh great but to me, the songs of impact were those added to the film Harold and Maude.
Cat dabbled a bit in soundtracks thus adding perfection to perfection for this film. No more amazing a pairing in cinematic history than Harold’s car going off the cliff to the sound of “Trouble.” Freaking brilliant. Matter of fact quit reading this and go watch Harold and Maude. Come back later lets talk about it.. Best movie of all time hands down and Cat has so very much to do with that.
But as Ive stated before all brilliance comes with some form of insanity and in 1977 Cat ditched the claws, converted to Islam and became Yusuf Islam. Turned his back on the industry and focused on spirit his religion and philanthropic works.
Then you all hated him. He was an extremist, a terrorist even. The man wanting us to get on board the “Peace Train”was now a good for nothing towel head wearing traitor.
Give me a break.. Cat -Yusuf..whatever he wants to be called is a brilliant songwriter a peaceful man with brazen idealist with a love of life.
He has entertained inspired and enlightened generations and now has begun again.
Cat Stevens never got the accolades he deserved because he wouldn’t stroke the industry, in fact he broke free missing the notoriety I feel he deserved.
Give him a new spin hes as timely now as he was 40+ years ago
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1975 (Volume 6, Number 10)
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