Album of the Day: Cat Stevens (9/27/72)

41Q5E352HEL._SL160_For a time in the early 70s, Cat Stevens was the hottest folk-rock artist on either side of the Atlantic. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, he took the stage name Cat Stevens in the mid-60s just as he was launching his musical career on the London club scene. His run of five Top 10 albums, Tea For the Tillerman (1970), Teaser And The Firecat (1971), Catch Bull At Four (September 27, 1972), Foreigner (1973) and Buddha And The Chocolate Box (1974) garnered millions of units sold, several Top 40 hits, and awards for songwriting, particularly with the oft-covered single “The First Cut Is The Deepest,” which Stevens wrote in 1967 and received ASCAP awards for songwriter of the year in 2005 and 2006. Catch Bull At Four came at the peak of Steven’s career, following the massively popular Tea For The Tillerman and Teaser And The Firecat, which blended folk, light rock and easy listening sounds and allowed Stevens to find avid listeners on both AM and FM radio. Although it hit #1 in the U.S., Catch Bull At Four was something of a letdown after the previous two albums and signaled the beginning of the end. Stevens seemed to lose the magic and delve deeper into religious themes and harder, non-pop sounds, and the album sold well for only a short time. The last two of the five album run plus a Greatest Hits release in 1975 were all that was left. Two modest sellers, Numbers (1976) and Izitso (1977) preceded Stevens’ announcement of his conversion to Islam, a name change to Yusuf Islam, and an official retirement from public performances. He finally released a retrospective album in 1990 and two studio works in 2006 and 2009, but the glory days were gone. Cat Stevens is in the Playlist Vault on Catch Bull At Four is available as a CD on Amazon and as download tracks on iTunes.


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