Amazingly enough, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) is scheduled to tour again in 2009. My jaw drops when I think that it has been nearly 40 years since the music of this young European played endlessly in our dorm rooms. I personally wore out two vinyl copies of each of "Tea for the Tillerman", "Teaser and the Firecat" and "Catch Bull at Four". Steven's obscure first album, "New Masters" in 1967 didn't chart but featured his song "The First Cut is the Deepest".
It amazes me to chart the life of some songs... after Stevens' recorded it, he gave it to one of Ike Turner's backup singers, P.P. Arnold, who had a hit with it in Great Britain. Rondstadt recorded a laid back, more countrified version in 1973.
Completely out of character, Rod Stewart made the song his own in 1977...
I fell into obscurity when Stevens took back all usage rights to his song when he began his new life in the middle east...starting in 2000, he began to make public appearances and release the rights to cover his music.
Sheryl Crow hit with it in 2003 -- since her version, it's been covered on a lot of reality singing spots. My favorite? Duffy on British televison. Check out the videos below.
Cat Stevens with his own song, 1967:
Rod Stewart in 1977... I really get a kick out of seeing "Young Rocker" Rod again.
This song is a staple in all his concerts, so most people are familiar with seeing it more jowly and spangly than this!
Crow's version - live (what a great place for a concert!):
Duffy - last year: