Artist: Cat Stevens

Father and Son – Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens, is a British musician of Greek Cypriot and Swedish ancestry. He is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, philanthropist and prominent convert to Islam. His birth name is Steven Demetre Georgiou, but now goes by his Islamic name, Yusuf Islam.

Steven Georgiou began to perform his songs in coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realized he preferred performing solo. Thinking that his Greek name might not be memorable as a stage name, he sought a new one. He adoped the stage name Cat Stevens, in part, because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he said, “I couldn’t imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for that Stephen Demetre Georgiou album. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals.”

Father and Son

Father and Son” is a popular song written and performed by English singer-songwriter, Yusuf Islam (then known as Cat Stevens) on his 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman.

The song frames an exchange between a father not understanding a son’s desire to break away and shape a new life, and the son who cannot really explain himself but knows that it is time for him to seek his own destiny. To echo this, Stevens sings in a deeper register for the father’s lines, while using a higher, more emotive one for those of the son. Additionally, there are backing vocals provided by Stevens’ guitarist and friend, Alun Davies, singing an unusual chorus of simple words, and sentences such as, “No”, “Go and make this decision”, beginning mid-song, so softly, they are only perceptible with a slight increase in volume towards the end of the song.

Yusuf Islam originally wrote “Father and Son” as part of a proposed musical project with actor Nigel Hawthorn called Revolussia, that was set during the Russian Revolution; the song was about a boy who wanted to join the revolution against the wishes of his father. The musical project faded away with the onset of more than a year-long period of recuperation after a sudden bout of tuberculosis and a collapsed lung; the result of too much fast living after first achieving fame.  but “Father and Son” remained, now in a broader context that reflected not just the societal conflict of Stevens’ time, but also captured the impulses of older and younger generations in general.

Interviewed soon after the release of “Father and Son”, Stevens was asked if the song was autobiographical. Responding to the interviewer from Disc, he said, “I’ve never really understood my father, but he always let me do whatever I wanted-he let me go. ‘Father And Son’ is for those people who can’t break loose.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Stevens has said he is aware that “Father And Son” and several other songs mean a great deal to a large number of fans.

“Some people think that I was taking the son’s side,” its composer explained. “But how could I have sung the father’s side if I couldn’t have understood it, too? I was listening to that song recently and I heard one line and realized that that was my father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father speaking.”

By 2007, Stevens, (now known as Yusuf Islam) recorded the song again in “Yusuf’s Cafe Sessions” of 2007 on DVD again with Alun Davies, and a small band playing acoustic instruments. The performance was presented in a video with two close camera shots of his wife and daughter, holding his infant grandchild, as if to make the point that this song really is timeless.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/cat-stevens-father-and-son.flv[/flv]

Father
It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

Son
How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It’s always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Father
It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.
(Son– Away Away Away, I know I have to
Make this decision alone – no)

Son
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them They know not me.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

(Father– Stay Stay Stay, Why must you go and
make this decision alone?)

  • Audio from the 1970 album, Tea for the Tillerman:

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Oh Very Young – Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens, is a British musician of Greek Cypriot and Swedish ancestry. He is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, philanthropist and prominent convert to Islam.  His birth name is Steven Demetre Georgiou, but now goes by his Islamic name, Yusuf Islam.

Steven Georgiou began to perform his songs in coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realized he preferred performing solo. Thinking that his Greek name might not be memorable as a stage name, he sought a new one. He adoped the stage name Cat Stevens, in part, because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he said, “I couldn’t imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for that Stephen Demetre Georgiou album. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals.”

Oh Very Young

Oh Very Young” is a song that was released on Cat Steven’s 1974 album Buddha and the Chocolate Box.  Its lyric is a gentle response to Don McLean’s hit American Pie released two years previously. Like McLean, he stops short of mentioning Buddy Holly directly, but questions the ill-fated songwriter’s “Not Fade Away” (the last song Holly performed) lyric “a love to last more than one day, a lover’s love, not fade away” with his own “denim blue, fading up to the sky, and though you want him to last forever you know he never will, and the patches make the goodbye harder still”. Stevens then mentions the young American’s mould-breaking work “Words Of Love” in the line “will you carry the words of love with you, will you ride the great white bird into heaven, and though you want to last forever you know you never will, and the goodbye makes the journey harder still”.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/cat-stevens_oh-very-young.flv[/flv]

Oh very young
What will you leave us this time
You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away like your daddy’s best jeans
Denim Blue fading up to the sky
And though you want them (HIM)to last forever
You know they (HE) never will
You know they (HE) never will
And the patches make the goodbye harder still

Oh very young
What will you leave us this time
There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind
And if you want this world to see a better day
Will you carry the words of love with you
Will you ride the great white bird into heaven
And though you want to last forever
You know you never will
You know you never will
And the goodbye makes the journey harder still

Oh very young
What will you leave us this time
You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while
Oh very young
What will you leave us this time

  • Audio from the 1974 album, Buddha and the Chocolate Box:

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Moonshadow ~ Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens, is a British musician of Greek Cypriot and Swedish ancestry. He is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, philanthropist and prominent convert to Islam.  His birth name is Steven Demetre Georgiou, but now goes by his Islamic name, Yusuf Islam.

Steven Georgiou began to perform his songs in coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realized he preferred performing solo. Thinking that his Greek name might not be memorable as a stage name, he sought a new one. He adoped the stage name Cat Stevens, in part, because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he said, “I couldn’t imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for that Stephen Demetre Georgiou album. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals.”

Moonshadow

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/Cat_Stevens-Moonshadow.flv[/flv]

I’m being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow-moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow-moon shadow

and if I ever lose my hands
lose my plough, lose my land
oh, if I ever lose my hands
oh, if…
I won’t have to work no more

and if I ever lose my eyes
If my colours all run dry
yes, if I ever lose my eyes
oh if …
I won’t have to cry no more.

yes, I’m being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow – moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow – moon shadow

and if I ever lose my legs
I won’t moan and I won’t beg
of (oh)* if I ever lose my legs
oh if…
I won’t have to walk no more

And if I ever lose my mouth
all my teeth, north and south
yes, if I ever lose my mouth
oh if…
I won’t have to talk…

Did it take long to find me
I ask the faithful light
Ooh did it take long to find me
And are you going to stay the night

I’m being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow – moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow – moon shadow
moon shadow – moon shadow
moon shadow – moon shadow

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