On The Road To Find Out

Album: Tea For The Tillerman (1970)
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  • Lyrics
  • This is about a young man who wants to see the world for himself, so he sets out on a journey into the world where he can clear his mind and see what he can discover. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    michael - tasmania, Australia
  • "On The Road To Find Out" was inspired by a deep spiritual emptiness in the composer's life. He was not writing about traveling in a literal sense but in finding out who he was and the purpose if any of his existence. Cat Stevens had fame and fortune thrust upon him at an early age, and like so many people in a similar position he looked at what he'd accomplished and realized it had brought him neither happiness nor peace of mind. This was one of the songs he wrote after recovering from tuberculosis, a disease that had all but been eradicated in the Western world by the time he contracted it, and which in his case was caused by personal neglect and fast living.
    In 1977, he converted to Islam after several years of serious contemplation of religion. He played his final concert in November 1979 then withdrew totally from music for over two decades. In 2004, after his return as Yusuf Islam, he featured in a TV documentary where he told presenter Alan Yentob that his songs were a narrative to his life – none more so than "On The Road To Find Out."
  • The last couplet reads "...the answer lies within, so why not take a look now? Kick out the Devil's sin, pick up, pick up a good book now."
    When asked about this he told Yentob that – as far as he recalled - he had originally written "pick up the Good Book now" - an obvious allusion to the Bible, but had altered it to avoid its being taken up by "Bible bashers."
  • Although they are separated by three decades, and the latter is written in the third person singular, "On The Road To Find Out" is strikingly similar in content to "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)," which was inspired by an entirely different subject, but has been and can be interpreted as a voyage of self-discovery. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3
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Comments: 6

  • Steve from Melbourne, AustraliaI could be drawing a long bow here but having read Bunyan's 'Pilgrims Progress' I am struck by the similarities between song and story. A young man dissatisified with his life, leaves his home and family to set out on a journy to discover what is tryly important. Of course both texts share a christian connection.
  • Walter from Austin, TxHarold buys a Hearse first. His mom has it taken away and gives him a nifty Jaguar to replace it. Harold promptly converts the Jaguar into a Hearse.
  • Joe from Sacramento, Caharold didnt buy the hearse he had a jaguar i think was the car cutinto a car that looked like a hearse
  • Janice from Folsom, CaThis song was played at both my brother's and father's funerals. A perfect way to sum up the journey they'd been on, and the one they were embarking on. Through out life, we are truly on the road to find out.
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, Riyesss
  • Brian from Fullerton (the Paris Of Oc), CaThis is the song playing in the film Harold and Maude when Harold buys his hearse. For some reason, it's a beautiful scene.
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