This was Cat Stevens' first single, and the song that earned him a record deal. After writing a few songs, he shopped for a record deal but had a hard time getting any interest until he sang "I Love My Dog" in February 1966 for a record producer named Mike Hurst, who loved it but couldn't convince his boss of its merits. Stevens kept working at his father's London restaurant while he waited for a break, but he couldn't find any takers. Hurst took a job in America at Vanguard Records, but decided to record Stevens before he left. A few years earlier, Hurst was part of the folk-pop group The Springfields, which had a few hits in the UK during his tenure. He told Decca he would record a song called "Going Going Gone" that they could release as a single. When they agreed, he blasted through "Going Going Gone," then used most of the session to record Stevens on "I Love My Dog." At the end of the session, Stevens rushed through a song called "Portobello Road" (written by the American producer Kim Fowley, who would later manage The Runaways) as the B-side.
Decca was not pleased, and they never issued "Going Going Gone," but they liked what they heard from Stevens and agreed to release the single on their new label, Deram, which they used for more eclectic acts. Stevens quit his day job, Hurst cancelled his plans for America, and Decca had themselves a hot new artist. "I Love My Dog" reached #28 in the UK, which was pretty good for a first single. His next single, "Matthew And Son
," was the payday, reaching #2 (behind "I'm A Believer
" by The Monkees).