This was inspired by a sign Stevens saw in a shop window while riding a bus in London. By the time it got to his stop, he thought up the story of the worker that became the main character in the song.
This was Stevens' first Top 10 hit in England. It's the title track of his first album.
This was recorded with an orchestra, making it one of the first orchestral pop hits of the rock era.
Nicky Hopkins played piano on this track but was uncredited. Hopkins played on songs by The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks and many other big-name acts.
This is the first track on Stevens' 2000 Greatest Hits compilation. After converting to Islam, Stevens (who became known as Yusuf Islam) made only religious music, but came to accept that his previous work had a lot of meaning and agreed to release it as a Greatest Hits album.
Del from United StatesZef from La you sound anti semitic. That is ridiculous... the song is based on a firm and he used a local tailor's name. No place for hate in music.
Zef from LaIts a song about a stingy Jewish shopkeeper who overworks his employees. Never allowing anyone to relax, always chasing profits.
Kat from Adelaide, AustraliaI always think the sound of this song is so mid-sixties London. I like it though - it's aged well.
Dan from Los Angeles, CaThe melody of the bridge (the "He's got people who've been working" part) was later "borrowed" for the chorus of the Tears For Fears hit, "Mad World."
Jeff Barto from Huntersville, NcYou can hear Cat reference this song years later on the Album "Izitso." During the song "I Never Wanted to be a Star," he opens with "I was seventeen. You were working for 'Matthew and Son.' The Beatles met the queen. And I wrote, 'I'm gonna get me a gun." It was his way of reflecting back on several songs that helped his journey up to this point and this song. An underrated song in my opinion.
Adam from Sydney, AustraliaThis song always reminds me of the "Are you being served" theme song. The instrumentation is spot on - brass, harpsichord and chugging bass - and it has that sound that evokes visions of corporate London in the 60's/70's. A catchy tune that is timeless, but definitely from a bygone era.
Erin from Austin, TxI love the beginning to this song! It's great on road trips because it starts soft and gets louder and louder.