Cat Stevens

July 21, 1947
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • His birth name is Steven Demetre Georgiou. He became a Muslim and changed name to Yusuf Islam in 1977 after his brother gave him a copy of the Koran. The name comes from the prophet Joseph, who was interpreter of dreams.
  • He is a talented painter. He painted the images used on his albums Teaser And The Firecat, Tea For The Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon.
  • Stevens was born in London. He was popular in England years before catching on in America.
  • Some radio stations boycotted his records in 1989 after he supported the call for Salman Rushdie's execution for defaming the prophet in the book The Satanic Verses. He said he was simply following The Koran.
  • He has five children.
  • in 1968, he got Tuberculosis. After a long recovery, he started writing less commercial and more introspective songs. Cat Stevens recalled to Mojo:

    "I was smoking a lot. Dope as well but mostly cigarettes. So then along came this disease and I was stuck with it. It was a kind of godsend in a way for me. That period was my blossoming into who I wanted to be."
  • He would have had better UK chart position for many of his hits, but Island Records did not promote his singles much in England to encourage people to buy his albums.
  • In 1979, he auctioned off his guitars and gave the money to charity in an effort to show his devotion to Islam.
  • He negotiated the freedom of 4 English prisoners from Iraq after the Gulf War in 1990.
  • He organizes and supports Muslim schools in England.
  • In 2001, he released a boxed set containing 79 tracks, most of which he recorded before becoming a Muslim. He donated the proceeds to charity in light of the terrorist attacks on America.
  • His parents were Stavros, who was Greek, and Ingrid, who was Swedish. When he converted to the Islamic religion, he was going against his family's faith, which ticked them off. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Annabelle - Eugene, OR
  • Yusuf Islam explained to Uncut magazine regarding his Cat Stevens stage name: "My girlfriend at that time, Christine, said to me one day 'You look so much like a cat.' That kind of stuck. At the same time there were films around like What's New Pussycat? and Cat Ballou."

    "So, yeah, it just stuck and then I just kept my first name, Steven and tagged Cat on to it."
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Comments: 22

  • Mike from Edmonton, AbInteresting that racism lives in music. Cat Stevens wrote "Peace Train" about 40 yrs. ago and your perception is he is the same man today as yesterday...not so. He has changed just like everyone of us, how? Well for one thing, in the name of allah, his religion, he not only agrees with the death of a certain writer, but calls for it. Darrel from anytown, OR makes a strong argument, from the context of, what if it was a Christian making death threats. Well I know you would be up in arms and spitting curses at that person, but for some reason Cat gets a pass. Not only does he get a pass, but he is embraced as a man of peace, because he wrote the song Peace Train 40 odd yrs. ago, and somehow continues to be embraced as a man of peace, does this make any senses...NO. And to top it off, we now have Muslims calling us racists, and people merely close their mind to this, isn't this like the pot calling the kettle black. Muslims should only scream racist when they are standing in front of a mirror. Peace Train has been converted to kill Train by the beloved Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens. Spread the love bro spread the love!
  • Fuzail from New Delhi, Indiaand one more thing, May be your Mama did not teach you that people who disagree and people who hurt your only thing that religiously is your most respected asset, are two different people. You got it,
    Jugding people is not justified when your existence in this world isn't.
  • Fuzail from New Delhi, IndiaDarryl from nowhere,
    Let me tell you something about being a racist or a terrorist. the moment you said that yusuf asked for salman rushdie's death you became a racist because u said that without thinking of making it certain he said that. And you know why u said that because you are nothing but big friggin RACIST.
    A terrorist is a person who terrorises people, you americans or YOUR kind of so called Christians (in the bracket) have no idea what it is. YOU ask your
    self if this man terrorizes you? the answer would be , NO. But do you terrorize him, probably yes.
    you don't even feel the need to make sure if the statement was taken out of context.
    Yeah, sure he would certainly not have liked him. neither do I? One more thing, if you don't get hurt on your religious jokes it is your way. Eeryone has a way of its own and he did not like the way he defamed ( that too falsely) our prophet and with him a lot of other Muslims. But the question is when we got hurt did you stayed silent or help us.
    Hell we don't need your help, But when you got a chance to pounce on one of us wearing a fake cloak of peace, YOU did.

    Now I would say That you and all of your people woulb be well deserve to be called an A-HOLE that would gallop a Universe.
  • Darrell from Anytown, Or"""""""""I can't believe that Cat Stevens is on a terrorist list. I wonder if America would let him in if he converted back to Christianity??"""""""""

    Really, I damn sure wouldn't. He has already endorsed the death of one man based on his beliefs. As a christian, I am taught to suffer those who disagree with me. Cat appearantntly wants the death those who disagree with him . Would you think it wrong if I (a chistian), advocated the death of some high profile Muslim who defamed the name of Jesus, (of course you would), when it's based solely on thier belief. If I did that, I would rightfully be called a bigotted A-Hole. Well there we have it, what should peaceful little Cat be called? That A-word is comming to mind.

    Let me take out all the superfluios BS, "If you condone Cat "Yusef" Stevens comments about Salman Rushdie, then for the same reason, you MUST condone the execution of anyone who has ever defamed the name of Jesus............Do You See How Stupid That Sounds???????Really?
  • Raymond from Temse, BelgiumJennifer from Canada is stating that "Seasons in the sun" was written by Terry Jacks, which is wrong. It is a composition by Jacques Brel and the English lyrics are by Rod McKuen.
  • Karen from Redhill , Victoria Aust, United StatesFear and ignorance, rule the world. Its hideous Cat is on the Terrorist list
  • Aykut from Istanbul, United StatesCat Stevens decided to find the truth after his tuberculosis recovery. and absoulately the truth was Islam he found It. He is one of yhe most extreme Muslims that I have ever seen. his long beard and moustache(as our Prophet's) and throwing everything from his life that Islam forbids. for america every Muslim is a terrorist. everybody should know that Islam don't allow people to kill each other and Allah says: "Who kills anpther person is not a Muslim" in Quran. america don't want to understand that.
    By the way Yusuf Islam's new pop album is coming soon. maybe fall or end of the year. Some say that this album will be a synthesis of east and west. 03/09/2006
  • Jennifer from Sudbury, CanadaHe Nikki from Brampton (1st comment posted): Cat Stevens didn't write or sing 'Seasons in the Sun'. Terry Jacks wrote it. Cat Stevens was a much better songwriter than that!
  • Nikki from Brampton, Canadai love their song seasons in the sun
  • Kelli from Cedar Rapids, IaHow extreme a Muslim is Cat Stevens now? Does his wife have to be veiled, etc?
  • Sharon from Phoenix, Az
    If you only to know his music from 'Wild World' to 'Foreigner', I can tell you that his early era (mid- to late-1960s) includes well composed, well performed, and well crafted music that deserves a listen.

    He has a life-long history of religious conversions. He spent portions of his early adult years living the fast life, then dropt from society to do soul-searching. He has been Christian, Greek Orthodox, and Buddhist among other faiths.

    I met him in Tucson, Arizona, in the late-1980s. He projected strange behaviours with his Islamic religion conversion - including imposing his closed-mindedness toward his wife and children who exhibited behaviours as that of abuse victims.

  • Dave from Canberra, AustraliaJust wondering what Sad Lisa was about?
    Sounds to me like Cat is singing about a victim of mental disability in this Lisa, or another possiblity is she is a victim of domestic violence
    Iam not sure of facts but its a very deep song with great imagery
  • Hayley from Cairo, EgyptI can't believe that Cat Stevens is on a terrorist list. I wonder if America would let him in if he converted back to Christianity??
  • Danny from Sydney, Australiawhat has the world come to when Cat Stevens is on a terrorist list?
  • Sam from Beirut, Otherhe really is a great man before being a great artist.. my friend sarah is a huge fan of his....
  • John from Gosford, AustraliaHe did not support or approve killing anyone. The issue with Rushdie was taken out of context.

    Yes Annabelle, his name change to Yusuf was a legal change.

    Concerning the paintings, he also drew the album covers for Catch Bull At Four, Buddha And The Chocolate Box, and Numbers.
  • Helly from Ny, Fl9/22/04 Heard on the news that Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens was not allowed in America becaue his name was on a "terrorist list" What is this world coming to?! He wrote PEACE TRAIN for heavens sake!
  • Helly from Ny, FlStory has it he survived a near drowning and the experience led to his conversion to Islam.
  • James from Richmond, Vahe was born in 1948 not 1947
  • Amanda from Tulsa, Ok9/22/04

    Heard on the news that Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens was not allowed in America becaue his name was on a "terrorist list"
    What is this world coming to?! He wrote PEACE TRAIN for heavens sake!
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrFans were shocked when Cat Stevens changed his name to Yusuf Islam. Was the change actually a legal name change?
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcStory has it he survived a near drowning and the experience led to his conversion to Islam.
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