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Great introduction to Cat's pop music
on 2 March 2005
Born Steven Georgiou, he adopted the name Cat Stevens for his musical career but subsequently became a Muslim, quitting his musical career and changing his name again, this time to Yusuf Islam. This compilation of his music as Cat Stevens is as good as any you are likely to find.
Cat had a minor UK hit in 1966 (I love my dog) but established himself as a songwriter by providing the Tremeloes with their first hit since Brian Poole left them (Here comes my baby) and by providing P P Arnold with her first hit (First cut is the deepest). Those hits were both in 1967, the year in which Cat had his first major hit as a singer, when Matthew and son peaked at number two in the UK. It was the biggest hit he ever had. He had another top ten UK hit (I'm gonna get me a gun) and two minor hits (A bad night, Kitty) in 1967 but none of those hits are included here. Actually, despite their hit status, they aren't really important.
Cat left his original label (Deram) and signed to Island, after which he recorded a series of albums that won him international acclaim. Although he placed six singles on the UK charts, all included here, his reputation ultimately rests with his albums. This explains why so many of his fans do not like compilations of his music, preferring the original albums.
Nevertheless, there is a market for compilations and there are plenty of people who don't want (or can't afford) to collect Cat's original albums. So here you get those hits (Lady D'Arbanville, Moon shadow, Morning has broken, Can't keep it in, Another Saturday night, Remember the days of the old school yard) as well as other classic tracks such as Peace train, Father and son, Wild world and Cat's own versions of Here comes my baby and First cut is the deepest.
If you want just one Cat Stevens collection, make it this one - but if you decide to collect his original albums instead, start with Tea for the tillerman or Teaser and the firecat.