Cat Stevens – If You Want to Sing Out

I first got Tea for the Tillerman back in the early eighties and got hooked on Cat Stevens although I do remember his songs growing up. He has one of those voices that when you first hear it…you know who it is without any doubt. This song I didn’t know about until I heard it in a movie.

This is the ultimate optimistic song about following your own path. Like the best of Cat Stevens songs, it will stay with you after a listen. It’s optimistic without going overboard.

I first heard this song in the dark comedy 1971 “Harold and Maude” where it was featured. Stevens wrote and performed all of the songs for the movie after being recommended by Elton John.

This song did not chart which really surprised me when I first heard it. The reason it didn’t chart was that was it never released as a single or on an album. The song was finally released in 1984 on a Cat Stevens Greatest Hits album called “Footsteps in the Dark: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.”That was 14 years after the movie. The soundtrack for Harold and Maude wasn’t released until 2007.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes dark or offbeat comedies. The movie was directed by Hal Ashby. The music was a perfect fit for this movie. Both Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon were nominated for Best Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture -Comedy at the Golden Globes.

“If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out”

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are

[Chorus:]
You can do what you want
The opportunity’s on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
you see ah ah ah
its easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
‘Cause there’s a million things to do
You know that there are

[Chorus]

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

20 thoughts on “Cat Stevens – If You Want to Sing Out”

    1. I’m not Bud Cort’s biggest fan but I do like Ruth Gordon. It can be really uncomfortable in spots so I get it.
      This song was in a commercial a few years ago and that brought it back to my attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love that song and Cat Stevens, especially his early work. “Lady D’Arbanville” was one of the tunes my guitar teacher showed me relatively early, once I had developed some basic skills on the Spanish acoustic guitar.

    I didn’t recall “If You Want to Sing Out” based on the title, but once I started listening, I remembered it right away. It clearly would have made for a great single!

    I also dig “Harold and Maude”, a real black comedy classic. Haven’t watched this movie in many years. I know it may sound a bit weird to say this, that Jaguar E funeral car is the coolest such vehicle I’ve ever seen. Not that you really want to see funeral vehicles, but just saying!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES…I love that car! The movie isn’t for everyone but I love the dark humor in it. I’m a huge fan of Ruth Gordon also.

      Yea…I like Lady D’Arbanville also. HIs songs flow so well and that voice is one of a kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. vaguely know the song, and it’s pretty good. Cat put out some great music in those days, like you suggest one of the most instantly-recognizable voices around. I sadly think there’d be no market these days for a similar artist to come along with such simple songs with little flash or added production.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must have heard it a lot when I was a kid…it sounds so familiar. The movie has it all the way through and it was on a series of commercials a little while back.

      Like

  3. At one stage I was addicted to Cat Stevens – especially “If I laugh just a little bit” (don’t know if that’s the name of the song or what). I thought the later Yusuf Islam wasn’t as attractive…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was…and the soundtrack to the movie wasn’t released until the 21st century. They blew a chance with this song .

      Like

  4. He kinda had two careers as Cat, three as Cat/Yusuf; 60s era ‘Mathew And Son’, I”m Gonna Get Me A Gun,’ then the 70s where he was everywhere, then the later Yusuf. ‘Father And Son’ never gets old.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a good Cat Stevens tune. I saw Harold & Maude at the theater and know there was a huge age difference between them but not much else about the plot. Did not know that Cat wrote all of the songs for the soundtrack, how cool is that. I wonder why they waited so long to release the soundtrack. What’s freaky is that Bud Cort is in one of my favorite Wes Anderson movies, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” He plays the “cool” accountant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you went to the theater to see it? Wow… Oh yea she was about to turn 80 and he probabably was around 21 or so.
      It’s off beat but I like it. Not everyone would but the music is great.

      Why they didn’t release this as a t least a single baffles me. It sounds like a hit to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, we had a neat little theater within walking distance of where I lived and one night a week they had cheap seats, so my friend and I would walk over and see some great “alternative” movies. I agree that should have been a single.

        Liked by 1 person

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