Cat Stevens Overview
Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou; 21 July 1948),
His early 1970s record albums Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat were both certified as Triple Platinum Music recording sales certification by the RIAA in the United States; his album Catch Bull at Four sold half a million copies in the first two weeks of release alone, and was Billboard Billboard magazine
Steven Georgiou was the third child of a Greek-Cypriot Greek Cypriot father, Stavros Georgiou (b. 1900) and a Swedish Swedish people mother, Ingrid Wickman (b. 1915). He has an older sister, Anita, and brother, David. The family lived above Moulin Rouge, the restaurant that his parents operated on the north end of Shaftesbury Avenue, a short walk from Piccadilly Circus in the Soho theatre district Musical theatre of London. All family members worked in the restaurant. Georgiou developed an interest in piano at a fairly young age, eventually using the family baby grand piano to work out the chords, since no one else there played well enough to teach him. With the po***rity of The Beatles, at age 15, he extended his interest to the guitar, He would escape at times from his family responsibilities to the rooftop above their home, and listen to the tunes of the musicals drifting from just around the corner; With interests in both art and music, he and his mother travelled to Gävle, Sweden, where he started developing his drawing skills after being influenced by his uncle Hugo Wickman, a painter.
He attended other local West End schools, where he says he was constantly in trouble, and did poorly in everything but art. He was called "the artist boy" and mentions that "I was beat up, but I was noticed". He went on to take a one-year course of study at Hammersmith School of Art Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College , as he considered a career as a cartoonist. Though he enjoyed art (his later record albums would feature his original artwork on his album covers), At that point, his goal was to become a songwriter. Among the musicians who influenced him were Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, blues Blues (music) artists Leadbelly and Muddy Waters, John Lennon, Biff Rose (who played on his first album), Leo Kottke, He also wanted to emulate composers who wrote musicals, like Ira Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. In 1965 he signed a publishing Music publisher (po***r music) deal with Ardmore & Beechwood and cut several demos Demo (music) , including "The First Cut Is the Deepest".
Early musical career
Georgiou began to perform his songs in coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realised he preferred performing solo. In 1966, at age 18, he impressed manager/producer Mike Hurst Mike Hurst (producer) , formerly of British vocal group The Springfields, with his songs and Hurst arranged for him to record a demo and then helped him get a record deal. The first singles were hits. "I Love My Dog" charted at #28, and "Matthew and Son", the title song from his debut album, went to #2. "I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun" reached Britain's Top 10, and the album Matthew and Son Matthew and Son (album) itself began charting. The original version of the The Tremeloes cover hit, "Here Comes My Baby" Here Comes My Baby (Cat Stevens song) , was written and recorded by Stevens.
Over the next two years, Stevens recorded and toured with artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Humperdinck (singer) . The music business hadn't yet begun targeting specific audiences, so he frequently toured with what now would be considered an unusual array of celebrities. Stevens was considered a fresh-faced teen star, placing several single releases in the British pop music charts UK Singles Chart . Some of that success was attributed to the pirate radio station Wonderful Radio London, which gained him fans by playing his records. In August 1967, he went on the air with other recording artists who had benefited from the station to mourn its closure.
His December 1967 album New Masters failed to chart in the United Kingdom. The album is now most notable for his song "The First Cut Is the Deepest", a song he sold for £30 to P.P. Arnold that was to become a massive hit for her, and an international hit for Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, James Morrison James Morrison (singer) , and Sheryl Crow. Forty years after he recorded the first demo of the song, it earned him two back-to-back ASCAP "Songwriter of the Year" awards, in 2005 and 2006.
Stevens was living the fast-moving life of a pop star, and in early 1968 at the age of 19, he became very ill with tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. Near death read about other religions; and became a vegetarian. As a result of his serious illness and long convalescence, and as a part of his spiritual awakening and questioning, he wrote as many as 40 songs, which were much more introspective than his previous work. Many of those songs would appear on his albums in years to come.
Changes in musical sound after illness
The lack of success of Stevens' second album mirrored a difference of personal tastes in musical direction, and a growing resentment at producer Mike Hurst's attempts to re-create another album like that of his debut Debut album , with heavy-handed orchestration, and over-production, rather than the folk sound Stevens was attempting to produce. He admits having purposefully sabotaged his own contract with Hurst, making outlandishly expensive orchestral demands and threatening legal action, which resulted in his goal: release from his contract with Deram Records, a sub-label of major Decca Records. Upon regaining his health at home after his release from the hospital, Stevens recorded some of his newly-written songs on his tape recorder, and played his changing sound for a few new record executives. After hiring agent Barry Krost, who had arranged for an audition with Chris Blackwell of Island Records, Blackwell offered him a "chance to record [his songs] whenever and with whomever he liked, and more importantly to Cat, however he liked". With Krost's recommendation, Stevens signed with Paul Samwell-Smith, previously the bassist Bass guitar of the Yardbirds, to be his new producer Record producer .
Height of po***rity
Healthy and sporting a new beard, Stevens was armed with a catalogue of new songs that reflected his new perspective on what he wanted to bring to the world with his music. His previous work had sold in the United Kingdom, but Stevens was still relatively unknown by the public across the Atlantic. To rectify this, after signing with Island Records in 1970, an American distribution deal was arranged with A&M Records' Jerry Moss in North America. Stevens began work on Mona Bone Jakon, a folk-rock Folk rock based album that was quite different from his earlier "pop" style records, drawing on his new, introspective work.
Producer Paul Samwell-Smith paired guitarist Alun Davies Alun Davies (guitarist) , who was currently working as a session musician, with Stevens. Alun was the more experienced veteran of two albums which already had begun to explore the emerging genres of skiffle and folk rock music Folk rock . Davies was also thought a perfect fit in particular for his "fingerwork" on the guitar, harmonizing Harmony and contributing backing vocals with Stevens. They originally met just to record Mona Bone Jakon, but developed a fast friendship; Davies, like Stevens, was a perfectionist, appearing after all the sound checks had been completed, just to be sure that all the equipment and sound were prepared for each concert. He recorded on all but two of the succeeding pop music albums Stevens released, and continued performing and recording with him until Stevens' retirement. The two remained friends, however, and years later, when Stevens re-emerged as Yusuf Islam after 27 years, Davies appeared again performing at his side, and has remained there.
The first single released from Mona Bone Jakon was "Lady D'Arbanville", which Stevens wrote about his young American girlfriend Patti D'Arbanville. The record, with a madrigal madrigal (music) sound unlike most music played on pop radio, with sounds of djembes and bass in addition to Stevens' and Davies' guitars, reached #8 in the UK. It was the first of his hits to get real airplay in the United States. In addition, the song, "Pop Star", about his experience as a teen star, and "Katmandu", featuring Genesis Genesis (band) frontman Peter Gabriel playing flute, were featured. Mona Bone Jakon was an early example of the solo singer-songwriter album format that was becoming po***r for other artists as well. Rolling Stone magazine compared its po***rity with that of Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection, saying it was played "across the board, across radio formats".
Mona Bone Jakon was the precursor for Stevens' international breakthrough album, Tea for the Tillerman, which became a top-10 Billboard Billboard magazine hit. Within 6 months of its release, it had sold over 500,000 copies, attaining gold record status in the United States and in Britain. The combination of Stevens' new folk-rock style and accessible lyrics which spoke of everyday situations and problems, mixed with the beginning of spiritual questions about life, would remain in his music from then on. The album features the top 20 single "Wild World"; a parting song after D'Arbanville moved on. "Wild World" has been credited as the song that gave Tea for the Tillerman 'enough kick' to get it played on FM radio; and the head of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, was quoted as calling it "the best album we’ve ever released". It is ranked at #206 in Rolling Stone Magazine's 2003 2003 in music list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time ".
After the end of his relationship with D'Arbanville, Stevens noted the effect it had on writing his music, saying,
"Everything I wrote while I was away was in a transitional period and reflects that. Like Patti. A year ago we split; I had been with her for two years. What I write about Patti and my family... when I sing the songs now, I learn strange things. I learn the meanings of my songs late..."
For seven months from 1971 to 1972 Stevens was romantically linked to po***r singer Carly Simon while both were produced by Samwell-Smith. During that time both wrote songs for and about one another. Simon wrote and recorded at least two top 50 songs, "Legend in Your Own Time" and "Anticipation Anticipation (song) " about Stevens. He reciprocated in his song to her, after their romance, entitled, "Sweet Scarlet".
His next album, Catch Bull at Four, released in 1972, was his most rapidly successful album in the United States, reaching gold record status in 15 days, and holding the number-one position on the Billboard charts for three weeks. This album continued the introspective and spiritual lyrics that he was known for, combined with a rougher-edged voice and a less acoustic sound than his previous records, utilizing synthesizers and other instruments. Although the sales of the album indicated Stevens' po***rity, the album did not produce any real hits, with the exception of the single "Sitting", which charted at #16. Catch Bull at Four was Platinum certified in 2001.
Exploration with movie soundtracks
In July 1970, Stevens recorded one of his songs, "But I Might Die Tonight", for the Jerzy Skolimowski film Deep End Deep End (film) . In 1971, Stevens provided nine songs to the soundtrack of the black comedy Harold and Maude which became a po***r cult movie celebrating the free spirit, and brought Stevens' music to a wider audience, continuing to do so long after he stopped recording in the late 1970s. Among the songs were "Where Do the Children Play?", "Trouble Trouble (Cat Stevens song) ", and "I Think I See the Light". Two of the songs, "Don't Be Shy" and "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out", were not released on any album until their inclusion in 1984 on a second "greatest hits" collection: Footsteps in the Dark: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.
After his religious conversion in the late 1970s, Stevens stopped granting permission for his songs to be used in films. However, almost twenty years later, in 1997, the movie Rushmore Rushmore (film) was allowed to use his songs "Here Comes My Baby Here Comes My Baby (Cat Stevens song) " and "The Wind", showing a new willingness on his part to release his music from his Western "pop star" days. This was followed in 2000 by the inclusion of "Peace Train" in the movie Remember the Titans, in 2000 by the use in Almost Famous of the song "The Wind", and in 2006 the inclusion of "Peace Train" on the soundtrack to We Are Marshall. In 2007, an excerpt of "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" is sung by characters in Charlie Bartlett whose title character resembles the character of Harold in Harold and Maude, where the song first appeared.
Later Cat Stevens recordings
Subsequent releases in the 1970s also did well on the charts and in ongoing sales, although they did not touch the success he had from 1970 to 1973. In 1973, Stevens moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a tax exile from the United Kingdom, (however, he later donated the money to UNESCO). During that time he created the album Foreigner Foreigner (Cat Stevens album) , which was a departure from the music that had brought him to the height of his fame. It differed in several respects: entirely written by Stevens, he dropped his band and produced the record without the assistance of Samwell-Smith, who had played a large role in catapulting him to fame, and instead of guitar, he played keyboard instruments throughout the album. It was intended to show a funk/soul element rising in po***rity that Stevens had come to appreciate. One side of Foreigner was continuous, much different from the radio-friendly pop tunes fans had come to expect. He performed the album on a pre-arranged uninterrupted ABC network American Broadcasting Company television broadcast titled the "Moon and Star" concert, which at this point did include his band, however, they were all but overshadowed by an orchestra. The album produced a couple of singles including "The Hurt", but did not reach the heights he had once enjoyed.
The follow-up to Foreigner was Buddha and the Chocolate Box, largely a return to the instrumentation and styles employed in Teaser and the Firecat and Tea for the Tillerman. Featuring the return of Alun Davies and best known for "Oh Very Young", Buddha and the Chocolate Box reached platinum status in 2001. Stevens' next album was the concept album Numbers Numbers (Cat Stevens album) , a less successful departure for him.
The 1977 Izitso included his last chart hit, "(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard", a duet with fellow UK singer Elkie Brooks. Linda Lewis appears in the song's video, with Cat Stevens singing to her, as they portray former schoolmates, singing to each other on a schoolyard merry-go-round. This is one of few videos that Stevens made, other than simple videos of concert performances.
His final original album under the name Cat Stevens was Back to Earth Back to Earth (Cat Stevens album) , released in late 1978, which was also the first album produced by Samwell-Smith since his peak in single album sales in the early 1970s.
Several compilation albums were released before and after he stopped recording. After Stevens left Decca Records they bundled his first two albums together as a set, hoping to ride the commercial tide of his early success; later his newer labels did the same, and he himself released compilations. The most successful of the compilation albums was the 1975 Greatest Hits Greatest Hits (Cat Stevens album) which has sold over 4 million copies in the United States. In May 2003 he received his first Platinum Europe Award from the IFPI for Remember Cat Stevens, The Ultimate Collection, indicating over one million European sales.While vacationing in Marrakech, Morocco, shortly after visiting Ibiza, Stevens was intrigued by the sound of the Aḏhān Adhan , the Islamic ritual call to prayer, which was explained to him as "music for God". Stevens said, "I thought, music for God? I’d never heard that before / I’d heard of music for money, music for fame, music for personal power, but music for God!"
In 1976 Stevens nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu, California and claims to have shouted: “Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.” He says that right afterward a wave appeared and carried him back to shore. This brush with death intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth. He had looked into "Buddhism, Zen, I Ching, Numerology, tarot cards and Astrology". Stevens' brother David Gordon brought him a copy of the Qur'an as a birthday gift from a trip to Jerusalem. Stevens took to it right away, and began to find peace with himself and began his transition to Islam.
During the time he was studying the Qur'an, he began to identify more and more with the name of Joseph Joseph (Hebrew Bible) , a man bought and sold in the market place, which is how he says he had increasingly felt within the music business. Regarding his conversion, in his 2006 interview with Alan Yentob, he stated, "to some people, it may have seemed like an enormous jump, but for me, it was a gradual move to this." And, in a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, he reaffirmed this, saying, "I had found the spiritual home I'd been seeking for most of my life. And if you listen to my music and lyrics, like "Peace Train" and "On The Road To Find Out", it clearly shows my yearning for direction and the spiritual path I was travelling." Stevens had been seeking inner peace and spiritual answers throughout his career, and now believed he had found what he had been seeking.
Stevens formally converted to the Islamic religion on 23 December 1977, taking the name Yusuf Islam in 1978. Yusuf Islamic view of Joseph is the Arabic rendition of the name Joseph. He stated that he "always loved the name Joseph" and was particularly drawn to the story of Joseph in the Qur'an. The concert closed with a performance by Stevens, David Es***, Alun Davies, and Stevens's brother, David, who wrote the song that was the finale, "Child for a Day".
Yusuf married Fauzia Mubarak Ali on 7 September 1979, at Regent's Park Mosque London Central Mosque in London. They have five children and currently live in London, spending part of each year in Dubai.
Muslim faith and musical career
Following his conversion, Yusuf abandoned his music career. When he became a Muslim in 1977, he said, the Imam at the mosque was told that he was a pop po***r music star, and he told Yusuf that it was fine to continue as a musician, so long as the songs were morally acceptable. But Yusuf says he knew there were aspects of the music business, such as vanity and temptations, that did go against the teachings of the Qu'ran, and this was the primary reason he gave for retreating from the spotlight. But in his first performance on the television show Later... with Jools Holland, 27 years after leaving the music business, and in other interviews, he gave different reasons for leaving: "A lot of people would have loved me to keep singing," he said. "You come to a point where you have sung, more or less ... your whole repertoire and you want to get down to the job of living. You know, up until that point, I hadn't had a life. I'd been searching, been on the road." he decided to use his accumulated wealth and ongoing earnings from his music career on philanthropic and educational causes in the Muslim community of London and elsewhere. In 1981, he founded the Islamia Primary School in Salusbury Road in the north London London area of Kilburn Kilburn, London and, soon after, founded several Muslim secondary schools; in 1992, Yusuf set up The Association of Muslim Schools Association of Muslim Schools (AMS-UK), a charity that brought together all the Muslim schools in the UK, and served as chairman. He is also the founder and chairman of the Small Kindness charity, which initially assisted famine victims in Africa and now supports thousands of orphans and families in the Balkans, Indonesia, and Iraq. He served as chairman of the charity Muslim Aid from 1985 to 1993.
In 1985, Yusuf decided to return to the public spotlight for the first time since his religious conversion, at the historic Live Aid concert, concerned with the famine threatening Ethiopia. Though he had written a song especially for the occasion, his appearance was skipped when Elton John's set ran too long.
Salman Rushdie controversy
The singer attracted controversy in 1989, during an address to students at London's Kingston University, where he was asked about the fatwa calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie. The media interpreted his response as support for the fatwa. Yusuf released a statement the following day denying that he supported vigilantism vigilante , and claiming that he had merely recounted the legal Islamic punishment Sharia for blasphemy. In a BBC interview, he displayed a newspaper clipping from that time period, which quotes from his statement. Subsequent comments made by him in 1989 on a British television programme were also seen as being in support of the fatwa. In a statement in the FAQ section of his web site, Yusuf asserted that he was joking and that the show was improperly edited. In the years since these comments, he has repeatedly denied ever calling for the death of Rushdie or supporting the fatwa.
He appeared on videotape on a VH1 pre-show for the October 2001 Concert for New York City The Concert for New York City , condemning the attacks and singing his song "Peace Train" for the first time in public in more than 20 years, as an a cappella version. He also donated a portion of his box-set royalties to the Fund for victims' families, and the rest to orphans in underdeveloped countries. During the same year, Yusuf Islam dedicated time and effort in joining the Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism, an organization that worked towards battling misperceptions and acts against others because of their religious beliefs and/or racial identity, after many Muslims reported a backlash against them due in part to the grief caused by the events in the United States on 9-11.
The following day, Yusuf was deported back to the United Kingdom. The Transportation Security Administration claimed there were "concerns of ties he may have to potential terrorist-related activities". The Israeli government had deported Yusuf in 2000 over allegations that he provided funding to the Palestinian Palestinian people organisation Hamas; he denied doing so knowingly. "I have never knowingly supported or given money to Hamas," says Yusuf, who repeatedly has condemned terrorism and Islamic extremism. "At the time I was reported to have done it, I didn't know such a group existed. Some people give a political interpretation to charity. We were horrified at how people were suffering in the Holy Land." Powell responded by stating that the watchlist was under review, adding, "I think we have that obligation to review these matters to see if we are right".
Yusuf believed his inclusion on the watch list may have simply been an error: a mistaken identification of him for a man with the same name, but different spelling. On 1 October 2004 Yusuf requested the removal of his name, "I remain bewildered by the decision of the US authorities to refuse me entry to the United States". According to a statement by Yusuf, the man on the list was named "Youssef Islam", indicating that Yusuf himself was not the suspected terrorism supporter. Yusuf said of the incident at the time, that, "No reason was ever given, but being asked to repeat the spelling of my name again and again, made me think it was a fairly simple mistake of identity. Rumors which circulated after made me imagine otherwise."
Yusuf has written a song about the 2004 deportation experience, entitled "Boots and Sand", recorded in the summer of 2008 and featuring Paul McCartney, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, and Terry Sylvester.
British reports regarding deportation
In October 2004 the British newspapers The Sun The Sun (newspaper) and The Sunday Times voiced their support for Yusuf's deportation by the US government, claiming that he had supported terrorism. Yusuf successfully sued for libel and received a substantial out-of-court financial settlement and apologies from the newspapers stating that he had never supported terrorism and acknowledging that he had recently been given a Man of Peace award from the private Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Committee. However The Sunday Times managing editor Richard Caseby said that while there was an "agreed settlement", they "always denied liability" and "disagreed with Cat Stevens' lawyers interpretation", but took a "pragmatic view" of the lawsuit.
Yusuf responded that he was "...delighted by the settlement [which] helps vindicate my character and good name... It seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days to make scurrilous accusations against Muslims, and in my case it directly impacts on my relief work and damages my reputation as an artist. The harm done is often difficult to repair", and added that he intended to donate the financial award given to him by the court to help orphans of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake .
False rumour regarding veiled women
On 18 July 2008, Yusuf received substantial undisclosed damages from the World Entertainment News Network following their distribution of the false rumour that the singer did not speak to unveiled women. The allegations first surfaced in German newspaper
B.Z. B.Z. (newspaper) after Yusuf's trip to Berlin in March 2007 to collect the Echo music award Echo (music award) for "life achievements as musician and ambassador between cultures". Once again he was awarded damages after the World Entertainment News Network allowed an article to be published on Contactmusic.com, a "website said to have 2.2 million page views a month", The offending news agency apologized, admitting that Yusuf has never had any problem in working with women and, contrary to the article in question, never has needed a third party as an intermediary to function at work.2009 | Photo: Simon Fernandez
Yusuf gradually resumed his musical career in the 1990s. His initial recordings had not included any musical instruments other than percussion, and featured lyrics about Islamic themes. He invested in building his own recording studio which he named Mountain of Light Studios in the late 1990s, and he was featured as a guest singer on "God Is the Light", a song on an album of nasheeds by the group Raihan. In addition, he invited and collaborated with other Muslim singers, including Canadian artist Dawud Wharnsby. After Yusuf's friend, Irfan Ljubijankic, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was killed by a Serbian rocket attack, Yusuf appeared at a 1997 benefit concert in Sarajevo and recorded a benefit album named after a song written by Ljubijankic, I Have No Cannons That Roar.
In early 2005, Yusuf released a new song entitled "Indian Ocean" about the 2004 tsunami 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake disaster. The song featured Indian composer/producer A. R. Rahman, a-ha keyboard player Magne Furuholmen and Travis Travis (band) drummer Neil Primrose. Proceeds of the single went to help orphans in Banda Aceh, one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami, through Yusuf's Small Kindness charity. At first, the single was released only through several online music stores but later featured on the compilation album Cat Stevens: Gold Gold (Cat Stevens album) . "I had to learn my faith and look after my family, and I had to make priorities. But now I've done it all and there's a little space for me to fill in the universe of music again."
On 28 May 2005, Yusuf delivered a keynote speech and performed at the Adopt-A-Minefield Gala in Düsseldorf. The Adopt-A-Minefield charity, under the patronage of Paul McCartney, works internationally to raise awareness and funds to clear landmines and rehabilitate landmine survivors. Yusuf attended as part of an honorary committee which also included George Martin, Richard Branson, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Klaus Voormann, Christopher Lee and others.
In mid-2005 2005 in music , Yusuf played guitar for the Dolly Parton album, Those Were the Days Those Were the Days (Dolly Parton album) , on her version of his "Where Do the Children Play?". (Parton had also covered "Peace Train" a few years earlier.)
In May 2006, in anticipation of his forthcoming new pop album, the BBC1 programme "Imagine" aired a 49-minute documentary with Alan Yentob called Yusuf: The Artist formerly Known as Cat Stevens. This documentary film features rare audio and video clips from the late 1960s and 1970s, as well as an extensive interview with Yusuf, his brother David Gordon, several record executives, Bob Geldof, Dolly Parton, and others outlining his career as Cat Stevens, his conversion and emergence as Yusuf Islam, and his return to music in 2006. There are clips of him singing in the studio when he was recording An Other Cup as well as a few 2006 excerpts of him on guitar singing a few verses of Cat Stevens songs including "The Wind" and "On the Road to Find Out". and his debut album was released in February 2007. Yoriyos created the art on Yusuf's album An Other Cup, something that Cat Stevens did for his albums in the 1970s.
Starting in 2006, the Cat Stevens song "Tea for The Tillerman" was used as the theme tune for the Ricky Gervais BBC-HBO sitcom Extras Extras (TV series) . A Christmas-season television commercial for gift-giving by the diamond industry aired in 2006 with Cat Power's cover of "How Can I Tell You". That song is also covered by John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers frequently in concert.
In December 2006, Yusuf was one of the artists who performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, in honour of the prize winners, Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. He performed the songs "Midday (Avoid City After Dark)", "Peace Train", and "Heaven/Where True Love Goes". He also gave a concert in New York City that month as a Jazz at Lincoln Center event, recorded and broadcast by KCRW-FM radio, along with an interview by Nic Harcourt. Accompanying him, as in the Cat Stevens days, was Alun Davies Alun Davies (guitarist) , on guitar and vocals.
In April 2007, BBC1 broadcast a concert given at the Porchester Hall by Yusuf as part of BBC Sessions, his first live performance in London in 28 years (the previous one being the UNICEF "Year of the Child" concert in 1979). He played several new songs along with some old ones like "Father and Son", "The Wind", "Where Do the Children Play?", "Don't Be Shy", "Wild World", and "Peace Train".
In July 2007, he performed at a concert in Bochum, Germany, in benefit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Peace Centre in South Africa and the Milagro Foundation of Deborah and Carlos Santana. The audience included Nobel Laureates Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu and other prominent global figures. He later appeared as the final act in the German leg Live Earth concert, Hamburg of Live Earth in Hamburg performing some classic Cat Stevens songs and more recent compositions reflecting his concern for peace and child welfare. His set included Stevie Wonder's "Saturn", "Peace Train", "Where Do the Children Play?", "Ruins", and "Wild World". He performed at the Peace One Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 21 September 2007.
In 2008 Yusuf contributed the song "Edge of Existence" to the charity album Songs for Survival, in support of the indigenous rights organization Survival International.
In January 2009, Yusuf released a charity song in aid of children in Gaza. He recorded a rendition of the George Harrison song "The Day the World Gets Round", along with the German bassist and former Beatles collaborator Klaus Voorman. Yusuf said that all proceeds from the song will be donated to the U.N. agency in charge of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and to the nonprofit group Save the Children to be directed to aiding Gaza residents. Israeli Consul Consul (representative) David Saranga criticized Yusuf for not dedicating the song to all the children who are victims of the violence, including Israeli children.
An Other Cup
In March 2006, Yusuf finished recording his first all-new pop album since 1978. The album, An Other Cup, was released internationally in November 2006 on his own label, Ya Records (distributed by Polydor Records in the UK and internationally by Atlantic Records) — the 40th anniversary of his first album, Matthew and Son Matthew and Son (album) . A single, called Heaven/Where True Love Goes, was simultaneously released. The album was produced with Rick Nowels, who has worked with Dido Dido (singer) and Rod Stewart. The performer is noted as "Yusuf", with a cover label identifying him as "the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens". The art on the album is credited to Yoriyos. Yusuf wrote all of the songs except "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", and recorded it in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Originally, Yusuf began to return only to his acoustic guitar as he had in the past, but his son encouraged him to "experiment", which resulted in the purchase of a Stevie Ray Vaughan Fender Stratocaster in 2007.
Also in November 2006, Billboard magazine was curious as to why the artist is credited as just his first name, "Yusuf" rather than "Yusuf Islam".
for Island Records' 50th Anniversary
A new pop album, Roadsinger, was released on 5 May 2009. The lead track, "Thinking 'Bout You", received its debut radio play on a BBC programme on 23 March 2009. and to go on to Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, as well as some to-be-announced European venues. However, the New York appearance was postponed due to issues regarding his work visa. He appeared in May at Island Records' 50th Anniversary concert in London.
Philanthropic and humanitarian awards
* 2003 World Award also known as the "World Social Award" for "humanitarian relief work helping children and victims of war".
* 2004 Man for Peace Award presented by Mikhail Gorbachev for his "dedication to promote peace, the reconciliation of people and to condemn terrorism", the ceremony was held in Rome, Italy and attended by five Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
* (2005) Honorary Doctorate Honorary degree by the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief.
* 4 January 2007, The Mediterranean Prize for Peace in Naples, Italy. The award was received "as a result of the work he has done to increase peace in the world."
* 10 July 2007, honorary doctorate (LLD) by the University of Exeter, in recognition of "his humanitarian work and improving understanding between Islamic and Western cultures". The ceremony was attended by esteemed personalities including Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and guitarist Brian May.
* 6 November 2009, Special Achievement Award of the German Sustainability Award.
Music awards and recognition
* 2005 Nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
* 20 October 2005, ASCAP named Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year for "The First Cut Is the Deepest"
* 8 June 2006, listed as #49 in Paste Paste (magazine) magazine's "100 Best Living Songwriters".
* 11 October 2006, awarded Songwriter of the Year for the second year running, for the same song "The First Cut Is the Deepest".
* 25 March 2007, received the German ECHO "special award for life achievements as musician and ambassador between cultures", Europe's Grammy, in Berlin
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