Cat Stevens

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Soi Dog
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Cat Stevens

Post by Soi Dog » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:06 am

...or Yusef Islam?

Big fan of his early music. He was recently inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and I was surprised to see him not only attend but perform his hits live. He had previously requested his music portfolio be destroyed, as such music was against Islam, or whatever. Then he seemed to publicly agree with the "fatwa" for author Salmon Rushdie to be killed for writing The satanic Verses.

He did a great performance though. Didn't miss a beat.

Strange cat, that Cat. Cat Islam? Yusef Stevens?
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Milord » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:31 am

As soon as I read his name, "Moon Shadow" plays in my head.

I don't understand his conversion, but, if he did it to make a statement about Western decadence, establishment, or mind set, I would understand.

Some Artists make money, become independent, and decide ... fuck it, I'll do what I want now.
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Soi Dog » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:36 am

Milord wrote:As soon as I read his name, "Moon Shadow" plays in my head.

I don't understand his conversion, but, if he did it to make a statement about Western decadence, establishment, or mind set, I would understand.

Some Artists make money, become independent, and decide ... fuck it, I'll do what I want now.
Yeah, of course he has every right to change his lifestyle as he sees fit. This one was quite extreme. But I wonder why the change of heart. Is Rock n Roll no longer against Islam as he himself stated for 30+ years? He had female singers on stage with him...all that. Seems like even he hasn't come to grips with the dichotomy.
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Milord » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:52 am

Stevens experienced unprecedented success with hits including "Moon Shadow," "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken," and even recorded tracks for the offbeat film Harold and Maude. His next album, Catch Bull at Four (1972), stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks, making it his most successful American release. After releasing a successful greatest hits compilation in 1975, he put out his tenth album, Izitso, which also went gold.

Conversion to Islam

Around this time, while swimming at a Malibu beach, Stevens nearly drowned. Facing imminent death led the singer to make a promise: If divine intervention could save him from drowning, Stevens would devote his live to honoring God. According to Stevens, a wave pushed him to shore as if in answer to his prayers. Soon after this brush with mortality, Stevens' brother gave him with a copy of the Koran as a birthday present. The book made a deep impact on the musician.

In 1977, Stevens changed his name to Yusuf Islam and converted to the Muslim faith. Along with his adherence to his newfound religion, Stevens mandated that he would no longer record secular music. The following year, A&M Records released Back to Earth, a backlog of previously recorded tracks. The release experienced mild success.

In September of 1979, Stevens entered into an arranged marriage with Fawzia Ali, and founded a Muslim school near London. For the most part, he lived a quiet life devoted to his family and faith, and wasn't heard from until the late 80s. In 1989, Stevens claims he was misrepresented as supporting the death sentence for exiled novelist Salman Rushdie. As a result, Stevens' music was largely removed from the airwaves in the United States and he was blacklisted from the music industry.

In the mid-90s, Stevens began to release albums of spiritual lectures and Islamic-themed music. But these, combined with his philanthropic efforts, couldn't seem to erase his previous stigma. Although he vigorously condemned the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, he was placed on a "no fly" list which prevented him from entering the United States. He was also accused of funding the Hamas paramilitary group, but he denied doing so knowingly.

http://www.biography.com/people/cat-ste ... n-to-islam&" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Soi Dog » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:09 am

I knew about his conversion to Islam in the 70's and his reasoning behind it. I was questioning why he relented in his stance on the music recently, and why he embraced the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Never thought we would see him perform those songs again.
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Milord » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:51 am

He's got 5 kids. $$$
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by General Mackevili » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:32 am

Milord wrote:He's got 5 kids. $$$
And 5 wives too?
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Born-Confused » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:43 am

I remembered he did an interview a few years back - and found it...........

from http://www.smh.com.au/news/music/why-i- ... ntentSwap2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Why I am singing again: Yusuf Islam
December 11, 2006

Cat Stevens's journey, from sensitive superstar singer-songwriter to recluse in Brazil to Islamic convert, has returned him to music, Alexis Petridis writes.

It has been almost 30 years since Yusuf Islam became a Muslim, changed his name from Cat Stevens and announced that his career as a rock star was incompatible with his new religious beliefs.

"My imam at the Central Mosque said there was no problem with making music," Islam tells me. "In fact, he encouraged me - he said if the songs are moral, not offensive, then go ahead."

Islam has a pronounced cockney accent, which shouldn't be surprising given that he was born and raised in London, the son of a Greek Cypriot restaurateur, but somehow it is.

"Then I heard another kind of voice saying this is a dangerous business, you should be away from it, all the associations that go along with that way of life, you should get away from. I just decided to take the safest position and get out."

Instead, Islam entered into what he says was erroneously described as an arranged marriage - "I simply had two girls that I was, in a way, interested in marrying. I invited them home separately and asked my mother which one she thought I should marry and, by God, she was perfectly right."

He started a family, devoted his time to charity work, the founding of three Muslim schools and, less successfully, an Islamic hotel that foundered due to the decision to open it in Willesden, an area of north London hardly renowned for its massive influx of tourists, Muslim or otherwise. "Location, location, location," he sighs.

Meanwhile, he found his position on music slowly shifting: "Of course, being in some way a kind of icon of a generation, where music played a fundamental part in growing up and development - turning away from that the way I did was a little bit harsh. As you age, and as you gain wisdom in life, you realise where you made mistakes."

He hadn't touched a guitar for "a couple of decades" when he discovered his son had brought one into the house and was writing songs on it.

"I was a bit shocked, but what could I do? I wasn't convinced that it was wrong, but it was how it was going to be used."

The discovery precipitated a gradual return to the music business. First there was a string of religious releases called things like A Is For Allah, and a few live appearances. Occasionally, for a good cause, he could be prevailed upon to belt out an a cappella rendition of his 1971 hit Peace Train. Two years ago, there was a charity duet, alas with Ronan Keating, on a version of another old hit, Father And Son.

Now there is a new "secular" album, An Other Cup. Give or take the occasional Eastern influence, it sounds almost exactly like the multiplatinum-selling Cat Stevens of the early '70s: easy-listening acoustic singer-songwriter material with a ponderous lyrical bent.

It was recorded with Rick Nowels, a dizzyingly successful songwriter-producer-for-hire whose CV encompasses everyone from Charlotte Church to Rod Stewart.

The news of its release has not, Islam says, been greeted with untrammelled delight in every section of the Muslim community: "It's creating heat - there are people pointing fingers at me, saying you shouldn't be doing this, but quite honestly they are not having an effect on anybody, and I'd much prefer to think that what I'm doing now with my little guitar is helping to make things better in the world."

He is scrupulously polite, but clearly uncomfortable. "Right now," he says, offering a pained smile, "I sing better than I talk, and probably this interview will prove it."

There is no mistaking his suspicion. He hints at a media conspiracy against Muslims. "I can't help but think that somewhere along the line there's somebody who has a position, and perhaps something to guard and protect, that stops people from knowing about Islam." When I produce my Dictaphone, he reaches into his bag and pulls out a virtually identical model, with which he tapes the interview. This was his wife's idea, he says, a means of combating his wariness of the press. "I had a few occasions when I had a brush with the press and it was very harsh, very hostile to my conversion."

It's easy to forget just how big Cat Stevens was, partly because he detached himself from music so completely after his conversion, and partly because his oeuvre has never undergone the critical re-evaluation afforded less commercially successful peers such as Nick Drake or John Martyn.

He sold 50 million albums. His music was an inescapable presence even in primary schools, where no assembly was complete without one of the trendier teachers strapping on a guitar for a rendition of Morning Has Broken, the 1931 hymn Stevens popularised on his album Teaser And The Firecat.

Even at the height of his success, however, journalists found him heavy going in person. He complained of being "misinterpreted", but it's hard not to feel that most interviewers just didn't have a clue what he was going on about in his opaque pronouncements about everything from Maoism to UFOs.

He eventually gave up interviews altogether and moved to Brazil for what was widely reported as a period of austere seclusion and meditation. "People called it a seclusion and I suppose it was," he frowns, before going on to describe what sounds like a very '70s rock-superstar notion of monastic asceticism.

"I had a flat and a whole host of friends, a kind of Brazilian clique, film stars and models. Everybody had their pads on mountainsides, apartments with water flowing underneath them, an amazing lifestyle." He pauses for a moment. "At the same time, there was this incredible poverty in between. In Rio, you've got these shantytowns, and if there's a heavy rain, people lose their homes. So my conscience couldn't bear that either."

The path to his conversion famously began with getting into difficulties while swimming off the coast of Malibu - Islam prayed to God and was swept back to shore. His faith was sealed when his brother gave him an English translation of the Koran in 1976, but it's hard not to come to the conclusion that he might have given up music even if spiritual enlightenment had not intervened.

By the end of the '70s, the public's affection for sensitive singer-songwriters had begun to wane. His albums were still selling, but not in the kind of quantities they had earlier in the decade. The Greek leg of his final world tour, which he felt sure would be a triumphant homecoming, was a disaster.

The experience compounded an aversion to performing live. "I don't like applause, I must admit. Ultimately artists are shy creatures, they're introverts. To get up on stage and do this . . . that's why I still find it so difficult. The big mass-concert experience was the thing I think that also made me want to leave the business."

This makes you wonder why he has chosen to come back to it. He concedes it's hard to divorce his return to secular music from current events. "Maybe some people may have thought or imagined that Islam drains all creativity. For me, to sing again means to reaffirm the creativity of Islamic thought, of what it can do to a person and how it can express itself."

He pulls out a deluxe edition of the CD and points to a picture of himself drinking coffee underneath a poster that reads THE RETURN OF ZIRYAB. "Have you read about this guy, Ziryab?" he asks. "It's an incredibly interesting story. He was a musician, astronomer, fashion designer and gastronome, he was one of the architects of Andalusian culture."

For the first time that afternoon, he sounds neither wary nor evasive but genuinely enthusiastic.

"He brought all sorts of culture to Spain and thus through to Europe," he continues.

"Muslims don't know about this, it's become so stark. I think we've got to push the premise that culture is something to be shared by everybody. It's not a divisive issue. Whenever anything is good, a lot of people flock to it and want it, and that's why I'm singing songs again."

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General Mackevili
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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by General Mackevili » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:22 pm

I thought this was going to be another RIP thread...
"Life is too important to take seriously."

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

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Re: Cat Stevens

Post by Soi Dog » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:03 am

General Mackevili wrote:I thought this was going to be another RIP thread...
Well...career-wise, he died decades ago.
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