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Peace Train by Cat Stevens

Album: Teaser And The FirecatReleased: 1971Charted:
  • When he appeared on The Chris Isaak Hour in 2009, Stevens said of this song: "Musically, I was revisiting a very Greek-sounding riff - the kind of thing you'd hear on a Greek island. The words were attached to that time, my peace anthem. It ended every show that I did and was quite a show stopper. It was a very important song for me because it stated one of the big goals of my life which was heading straight for that peace."
  • This was Stevens' first US Top-10 hit. It was not released as a single outside of America because Stevens' European label, Island, wanted to encourage people to buy the albums rather than the 45s.
  • This became a hippie anthem, and was often used by protesters to spread a message of peace.
  • In 1987, 10,000 Maniacs covered this, but the song was dropped from future copies of their In My Tribe album in 1989 after Stevens, who had changed his name to Yusuf Islam, condoned the death wish on Salmon Rushdie for defaming the Prophet in his book The Satanic Verses.
  • In 2003, Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, re-recorded this for a compilation album called Hope, which was a benefit for children in Iraq. It was his first English language recording since 1978. The US and Britain had invaded Iraq, which was perceived by many to be an attack on Muslims. Stevens explained: "As a member of humanity and as a Muslim, this is my contribution to the call for a peaceful solution to the dangerous path some world leaders today seem to be taking."
  • In 2010, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert staged a Train Wreck, having Stevens perform this song at their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, DC, only to have Ozzy Osbourne interrupt with a performance of "Crazy Train."

    The bit didn't go over well with Salman Rushdie, an author who had a fatwa issued against him that Stevens supported. When Rushdie complained to Stewart, the Daily Show host said that he shouldn't have done it. "Death for free speech is a deal-breaker," said Stewart.
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Comments: 36

Sounds like Cat Stevens hopped off the peace train when he became Yusuf Islam. Agreeing with a death mark on a man over a book...Reyos - Windsor, On
Taken from Original Rolling Stone 'Teaser and The Firecat' LP Review [December 9, 1971]: ""Peace Train" has a healthy dose of Cat's characteristic calypso funk, but what puts you through the windshield those first few times is all that hand-clapping and bass drum pedal."Deethewriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
I like Cat Stevens music but as far as I'm concerned Cat Stevens is dead. I don't know this Yusuf Islam. He's evilRandy - Houghton Lake, Mi
Dane - If you have a choice of song you could pick an easier one for the assignment. Oh Very Young has all the elements your assignment asks for and they are easy to spot. I'm surprised it isn't listed here as it is a great song.Mike - Ocala, Fl
Was this song about vietnam?Yourmotherrr - Olivia, Mn
I need help with an assiment.... did this song create any images, was there descpriptive language used, where there any poetic devices used, how songwriter used these launguage featueres to create an image of their subject (peace) ... plz answer PLEASE! ... oh and is a great song!!Dane Asmussen - Gold Coast, Australia
I need help with an assiment.... did this song create any images, was there descpriptive language used, where there any poetic devices used, how songwriter used these launguage featueres to create an image of their subject (peace) ... plz answer PLEASE! ... oh and is a great song!!Need Help!! - Qld, Australia
Wake up and smell the Jihad:

On March 8, 1989, while speaking in HoweverLondon's Regents Park Mosque, Yusuf Islam was asked by a Christian Science Monitor reporter how he would "cope with the idea of killing a writer for writing a book." He is reported to have replied:

In Islam there is a line between let's say freedom and the line which is then transgressed into immorality and irresponsibility and I think as far as this writer is concerned, unfortunately, he has been irresponsible with his freedom of speech. Salman Rushdie or indeed any writer who abuses the prophet, or indeed any prophet, under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death. It's got to be seen as a deterrent, so that other people should not commit the same mistake again.[7]

Two months later Yusuf Islam appeared on a British television courtroom-style program, Hypotheticals.[8]

In the episode, ("A Satanic Scenario") Stevens/Islam is videoed having this exchange with moderator and Queens Counsel Geoffrey Robertson:

Robertson: You don't think that this man deserves to die?
Y. Islam: Who, Salman Rushdie?
Robertson: Yes.
Y. Islam: Yes, yes.
Robertson: And do you have a duty to be his executioner?
Y. Islam: Uh, no, not necessarily, unless we were in an Islamic state and I was ordered by a judge or by the authority to carry out such an act - perhaps, yes.
Robert - New York, Ny
While Listning to a live version of this song Cat Stevens introduced the song by saying that peace train was written while he was thinking about Alfred Hitchcocks chin. TRUE STORY.
He said this song was inspired by Alfred hitchcock's chin. Why I dont know.
Vaughn - New York, Ny
Love this song.. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr Islam in Kansas City in 2002? Where he gave an interview with my pastor on his radio show. I was lucky enough to be backstage as he exited and speak with him while we walked to his car. He most emphatically stated that he did not condone nor endorse the Fatwa against Mr Rushdie.. he also hoped to bring peace and understanding among religions. I told him that my son slept to his greatest hits cd and we played it so much i could recite the lyrics.. he smiled.. He was a true gentlemen and it was an honor to walk with him..Jeff - Atlanta, Ga
Mr. Stevens, like many long-time performers, understands that there is no bad publicity. The controversy over his politics has given him far more fame than most artists of his age, and the collateral damage to his reputation is negligible. His exclusion from the US must have pleased his promotion people immensely.Mark - Lancaster, Oh
The question whether world peace will ever be possible can only be answered by someone familiar with world history. To be familiar with world history means, however, to know human beings as they have been and always will be. There is a vast difference, which most people will never comprehend, between viewing future history as it will be and viewing it as one might like it to be. Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals.J D - Calgary, Canada
Peace is an inner state that can only be reflected outwardly. Therefore, true peace in the world is the collective inner peace of individuals--not the so-called "political peace" of nations. Because peace is secreted within each of us, the degree to which each person responds to his or her own inner peace enhances the peacefulness of the world. Our common, global bond is that, regardless of creed, color, sex, religion, social status, or national heritage, we all face the same inner search for peace and the same inner obstacles to finding it and recognizing it when found.J D - Calgary, Canada
Peace is not impossible JD. We as humans have the ability to shape to the world into what ever we want. It is people that view peace as a lost cause that slow its development down. When people start raising their children properly with love we shall have peace.Jonn - Liverpool, England
Peace is a nice thought however it is imposible. Just look at the debate it caused here. This earth was not designed for peace. Nature is harsh and we all are a part of that nature which we have no control. Any species, plant or animal, or element would take the world over in a heart beat if it could, and it would do so very violently without remorse or pity. When the chit goes down its kill or be killed. Good song though. This is my favorite live version and he explains how, where, and why he wrote it. Enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sjSHazjrWg&v3

Jim, Calgary, AB
J D - Calgary, Canada
This song is interesting, in perspective. It's a cry for peace and understanding, but the reason why we still have war and suffering is shown by Cat Stevens' OWN actions in later years. He is just as fallible as anyone else, and he was NOT taken out of context. He thinks Salmon Rushdie should die for speaking against Islam. It's as simple as that. Why must we go on hating? Why can't we live in bliss? I guess he should start with the Cat in the mirror.Liquid Len - Ottawa, Canada
and how about cultural terrorists like quentin tarantino, and other horror movie makers...and John Waters as well. Those people are greatly contributing to the rapid erosion of our decent society. I hope we never end up like Amsterdam..Paul - Cincinnati, Oh
Figures this fun song would somehow inspire a heated debate with much mudslinging and name-calling. I like the unique hook, his urgent vocals, and the way the song is musically arranged. You can take or leave the message. However, you do kind of have to question Cat Stevens' commitment to peace if he desires the death of a fellow human being solely for speaking his mind...at the same time though, I doubt he'd actually support undertaking any actions that would directly cause his death. He just wishes he'd die : / lol. Whatever, who cares, it's a good song.Paul - Cincinnati, Oh
You two should just both listen to this song and relax; also this is great when it's in Remember the Titans, great scene/great movie.Rob - Wilkes-barre, Pa
Relax nathan its just a joke! Besides the roots of international Islamism fundamentalism extend far earlier than the Taliban, you stupid canadian. Cat Stevens expressed interest in radical Isalm before he changed his name anyway you ignorant Canuck. They don't have newspapers in Canada?Nathan - Defiance, Oh
i love this song, it might be my all time favorite, i hate the us government for not letting cat stevens into the united states (not the only reason and definetely not the most important one but one of the reasons,lol). how can they think he is a terrorist, he wrote this song.Andres Anleu - Guatemala, Other
I really only care for the song not the political BSNathan - From The Country Of, Canada
How about the christian version of the taliban? I mean "people" like jerry fallwell, pat robertson, benny hinn, jack van impe, and creflow dollar (how ironic that a TV preacher should have "dollar" for his last name!) How come nobody ever says anything about these guys promoting psychological terrorism, which they do!Tomcat - Richmond, Va
Truth is, even those that think that they are contributing to humanitarian groups, face the possibility of donating money to dummy organizations that funnel money to terrorists. The Palestinian terror group Hamas is notorius for this type of crap. If you really want to read something into this mess, dig this: Cat Stevens aka Yusef Islam was banned from the US entry about the same time as the Dept. of Homeland Security warned against possible bombing of commutter trains. Peace Train = Al Queida dirty bomb? Conspiracy? Think about that the next time you sit back and listen to that old Cat Stevens record.Nathan - Defiance, Oh
And let us not forget that MSNBC is biased. It is after all, owned by a company that helped the funding of the Bush campaign (installation of the Bush regime, perhaps?). I am speaking of course, of Microsoft (damn you Bill Gates!)Paul - Buffalo, Ny
Well said, Deen. Its good to know that there are other sane people in the world.Paul - Buffalo, Ny
To John in Germany - This is a really good song, but not fair to compare it to Imagine which IS probably the greatest song ever written. It is always statiscally in the top 10 of any survey done. So it's not really just my opinion.Shirley - Ocean, Nj
simply one of those songs that sends chills through my body when I hear it....outstandingVictor - Vienna, Va
Actually, Jordan, Stevens donated to Palestinians in need of money, but due to ignorance, Palestine is thought of as a whole terrorist nation all together. No matter what organization you donate to in Palestine, people will think you are donating to terrorism. It really is so sad how Israel is rarely ever blamed for the conflict there...it takes two to tango.Deen - Houston, Tx
This *IS* the best song ever. So many people praise John Lennon for writing Imagine, but they forget this is a much better peace song.John - Gosford, Australia
Well said Ken. Cat/Yusuf never approved of killing anyone. It was taken out of context, he was just saying that is what is said in the Koraan.
Another thing - Cat never intended to have 7 albums, Glenn. And you can see this because you have forgotten about the two albums he released *before* Mona Bone Jakon. These were called Matthew & Son, and New Masters.
So obviously if he wanted 7 albums then he wouldn't have even released Buddha And The Chocolate Box and Numbers like you said...
John - Gosford, Australia
Stevens rereleased this in 20003 as,yet again, another antiwar message.Alex - New Orleans, La
It's kind of ironic that a man who has contributed so much to the world's peace movement is denied admission into the U.S. because he allegedy contributed funds to a Palestinian terrorist group. Don't believe me? Check it out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6067570/Jordan - Beaver, Pa
When Cat Stevens wrote "Peace Train", his message was loud and clear and very sincere. It's a song that basically says, Let's take a chance to live in peace and harmony! No More Wars! When I visit Baltimore during this summer, I will be launching a new Metro Mark Train from Washington, DC. I will be naming it the Peace Train, in honor of Cat Stevens! Way To Go! You're my favorite guy!Annabelle - Eugene, Or
There are better poets around than Cat Stevens (?): Dylan, J Mitchell, Springsteen but this was the first song I ever really listened to, so for that reason Cat Stevens will always be special for me. This song unlike most of his, doesn't have a second meaning - it's 'just' about peace. Stevens only ever intended to release seven albums:
MONA BONE JAKON - mono - 1
NUMBERS - 7 the last of the cycle

"?and seven evening stars, dance through the windows of her universal house" - Angelsea, Catch Bull at Four.
Glenn - Dunedin, New Zealand
Stevens did not "condone" the death wish on Rushdie. In the recent VH1 Behind The Music show with Cat he talks about how that whole thing was taken out of context. He does not agree with killling anyone. The show also talks about the seveal children charities arouond the world that Cat supports with his royalty money. Still, a heck of a guy.Ken - Hartland, Mi
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