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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday - Life of a Song Feature #1 ... an oldie from Cat Stevens

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:


Pam said...

The Cat's back!

Always did love "The First Cut is the Deepest". Both by Cat and Rod.

Not a huge Sheryl fan.

Bob said...

Yes Cat was one of the great ones. I still love his version of "Morning Has Broken."

Debby said...

Oh, my goodness. I can't believe that he is touring. How exciting! I loved 'Morning has Broken' too. I'm actually so agog over this that I want to go find out where he is going to be right now. See ya.

Kelly said...

Cat Stevens is one of my all time favorites and I was excited to read about his "comeback" in Newsweek this past week.

I had a number of his albums, but "Catch Bull at Four" was definitely my favorite, followed by his "Foreigner" LP.

Cat Stevens, Yusuf Islam... whatever the name, his voice is still wonderful!