Yusuf/Cat Stevens celebrated milestone last Friday. The iconic singer-songwriter turned 75 on July 21st.Artists including Paul McCartney, Paul Rodgers and Peter Gabriel have paid tribute.
Paul McCartney: “It was wonderful to hang out with Cat in the '60s. We had some fun experiences together and I have always admired his music. It was a great pleasure to meet his wife and children in latter years and see how happy they all are as a family. From Cat to Yusuf he is a great singer and song writer and easy to admire.”
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull: “I first heard Cat Stevens – the young pop singer Cat – in 1966 with ‘I Love My Dog’. My ears perked up at the lyrics of an unconventional love song. But it was the 1970 Island Records releases of the albums Mona Bone Jakon and Tea For the Tillerman that really brought home to me the excellence of his songwriting and the rich, rough-velvet texture of his voice..."
Lindsey Buckingham: “When I first heard Yusuf’s music, it was a revelation. I’d already been playing guitar for about 15 years, but I’d not yet started to write. Yusuf’s folk, rock and classical influences were similar to mine, and his breathtaking vocal performances, combined with his sublime melodies and rhythmic sensibility were inspirational and exemplary in helping me find my own way as writer and artist. Yusuf was and has remained an inspiration; one of my favorites of all time."
Peter Gabriel: “I was a big fan of Yusuf or Cat as he was. It was his song writing and then his singing that drew me in. The unconventional way he would use rhythm, melody and song structure was fascinating to me. He found it so easy to break the convention of song writing without losing any heart or soulfulness.
“I was very excited when producer Paul Samwell-Smith invited me to play flute on the Mona Bone Jakon session [on 'Katmandu']. I was never much of a flute player and was very nervous. In fact, I believe they played my track back in solo and had a good laugh at the anxious breathing of a nineteen year old would-be flute player.”
Paul Rodgers: “I feel that ‘Morning has broken / like the first morning’ is the greatest opening line to any song ever written. It is almost biblical and sends me back in time to the very first morning when the earth was fresh, new and unspoiled.”
Cat was born Steven Demetre Georgiou on July 21st, 1948 in London.Car released his first album at age 18, Matthew and Son in 1967. He changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1978 after converting to the Muslim faith. Yusuf is the Arabic rendition of Joseph, a name he said he always loved.
The superstar’s latest album, King of a Land, was released last month on George Harrison's Dark Horse Records.
[Source: Classic Hits Today]