Cat Stevens (b. July 21, 1948), now Yusuf Islam, is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with signature expressive, gravelly vocals and numerous well-crafted songs who became famous beginning in the early 1970s. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London to a Greek father and Swedish mother, he played the piano as a child and began writing songs in his teens. First known as Steve Adams, he adopted Cat Stevens as his stage name in 1966 and released his first singles, "I Love My Dog" and "Matthew And Son," both of which became top hits that year on the U.K. charts. During the late 1960s, he also wrote a number of songs made famous by other performers that included The Tremeloes' "Here Comes My Baby." Other works from that period include the extensively-covered ballad, "The First Cut Is The Deepest," which, many years later, became a top hit for both Rod Stewart (1977) and Sheryl Crow (2003).
Stevens made his U.S. debut in 1966 on the Pop/Rock charts with "I Love My Dog" which was followed soon after by "Matthew And Son" (1967), both of which are included on his 1967 debut album, "Matthew And Son." His fame took off internationally in 1971 with "Wild World," one of a number of songs inspired by then-girlfriend, actress Patti D'Arbanville. His long string of hits through 1978 also include the sublime "Moon Shadow" (1971), the socially-conscious "Peace Train" (1971), the spiritual "Morning Has Broken" (1972), the questioning "Oh Very Young" (1974), and his calypso-styled cover of Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night" (1974). Both "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken" topped the Adult Contemporary charts during their respective years and also became Top 10 hits on the Pop/Rock charts. Other top hits include "Sitting" (1972), "The Hurt" (1973), "Ready" (1974), and "Two Fine People" (1975). Stevens' critically-acclaimed and best known albums, "Tea For The Tillerman" (1970), which includes such gems as the heartrending "Father And Son" and "Sad Lisa," and "Teaser And The Firecat" (1971) are both certified triple platinum, and his sixth studio album, "Catch Bull At Four" (1972), also platinum-certified, spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200. Stevens also famously penned the soundtrack to the 1971 cult classic, "Harold And Maude."
In 1977, after a gradual spiritual awakening years in the making, Cat Stevens converted to Islam and renounced his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes and soon after changed his name to Yusuf Islam. In 2006, he began touring and recording again under his first name, Yusuf, performing new material as well as older Cat Stevens classics. In addition to many gold- and platinum-certified singles and albums, his numerous awards and accolades also include being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2014) and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2019). He earned two ASCAP songwriting awards in 2005 and 2006 for "The First Cut Is The Deepest," and in 2007, he received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
- For more info about Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam and his latest projects, visit catstevens.com.
- The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens describes the life-and-death incident that finally led him to convert to Islam and discusses his return to pop music in an interview with Rolling Stone (January 13, 2015).
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- The Hurt 1973
- Moon Shadow 1971
- Morning Has Broken 1972
- Oh Very Young 1974
- Peace Train 1971
- Sitting 1972
- Wild World 1971
(This song also became a hit for the Gentrys (1971), Maxi Priest (1989), and Mr. Big (1993).)
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