I’m very pleased to wish Mr. Yusuf Islam (better known to music fans worldwide as Cat Stevens) a very happy 63rd birthday. One of the most beloved singer/songwriters of the 1970s, Stevens’s music could always be counted on for its lush melodies and uplifting messages, usually set to the gentle strum of his acoustic guitar.
Born Steven Georgiou in London on July 21, 1948, Yusuf changed his name to Cat Stevens and signed with Decca Records in 1966, releasing his debut Top 40 hit single “I Love My Dog”. His song “Here Comes My Baby” was a giant hit for The Tremeloes, as was “The First Cut Is The Deepest” for P.P. Arnold in 1967. (The song would famously be covered by both Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow in later years.) After a year-long battle with tuberculosis, Stevens began writing more introspective, personal songs; his stylistically divergent third album Mona Bone Jakon and new single “Lady D’Arbanville” were both successful hits. On the immense popularity of his next two albums—Tea For The Tillerman (1970) and Teaser And The Firecat (1971)—Stevens became a renowned pop sensation in England and America alike. Over the next few years, though, success would gradually begin to take its toll on his personal life, and by 1977, Stevens officially converted to Islam, adopting the name Yusuf Islam and retiring from pop music. After years out of the spotlight, Yusuf returned in 2006 with the album An Other Cup, his first in nearly three decades.
Check out a few of our all-time favorite Cat Stevens tracks: