This is an autobiographical song; in November 2009, Yusuf appeared on the Channel Four programme Live From Abbey Road where prior to performing it he explained that in his previous incarnation as Cat Stevens he gave it all for about a year, and it nearly killed him. He contracted tuberculosis, which is a Mediaeval disease, he said. "That song is about what was happening to me at that time, and how people...in the music business, you know, you come, you go, oh here's a new one..."
At that time, stars would indeed come and go, and the machine didn't care if you burned out. Cat Stevens found solace in Islam, and after a lengthy break he returned to make a different kind of music, that of a man at peace with himself. The spiritual dimension to the song is obvious, even to those not au fait with his background and religious conversion.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England