Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Praise of Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam)

I was flipping around the channels the other day and came across a show hosted by Chris Isaak. His guest Yusuf Islam. Cat Stevens. Stephen Dimitri Georgio. Called by Carly Simon (his old girlfriend) as the most gentle, kindest, sweetest man she has ever went out with. The song "Anticipation" is about him. At one time he spoke to me and through me, knowing my life better than I did. From 1972-1974, he owned a spot on the soundtrack to my life. He resides in the top five during that time, I am sure. When a song like "Father and Son" finds it's way on to the turntable at the age of sixteen, you know that he knows. "On The Road To Find Out", "Wild World","Miles From Friggin Nowhere". Then, right after I discovered "TFTT", "Teaser and the Firecat" was released and "Peace Train" and "The Wind" and "Changes IV". He wasn't kidding. While "Catch Bull at Four" was fine, with "Foreigner", "Buddha and the Chocolate Box" and "Izitso", he was clearly trying too hard. As he told Chris the other night, he went on the road to find out and found it through the Muslim religion. He just disappeared. Through teh years, you'd hear something very infrequently about him. Not too long ago, he was denied entry into the US because he was on a list of potentail terrorists. A guy that penned "Peace Train" was on the same list as people who wanted to kill us. He has been much more accessable lately. I'm glad, while he was on the show, he pulled out the guitar and played with Gunnar Nelson (?) backing him. They were great! Gunnar has some chops to show taht I haven't seen. He and Yusuf harmonized perfectly.

With that in mind (if I can) I'll come up with my ten favorite Cat Stevens songs. There will be so many that are missed.

1. "Miles From Nowhere"I always seem to be miles from nowhere.

2."Father and Son"Damn it, it made me cry. Still does sometimes.

3."The Wind""Where I'll end up, where I'll go, only God really knows..."

4."Wild World"The first thing I heard by him. How to let go.

5."MoonshadowI mean, come on, it's Moonshadow.

6."On The Road To Find Out" I was on the road not too long later

7."Peace Train" Couple this with "Love Train" by the OJays and I wonder what happened.

8."If You Want to Sing Out"Harold and Maude was a killer.

9."Sitting" "I feel the power coming from my hair" Nuff said.

10. "Can't Keep It In"I gotta sing it out!

10.(tie) "18th Avenue"I've been on 18th avenue in Kansas City.

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