Cat Stevens – Father And Son

A truly beautiful song by Cat Stevens. It was used as the B-side of Stevens’ hit Moonshadow in some locations. 

His dad owned a restaurant in London and Cat (known to his dad as Steve Georgiou) worked there as a waiter right up until he signed a record deal at age 17. Stavros was hoping his son would join the family business.

Steven’s storyline for the song as he was writing it from the perspective of a father and son in a Russian family during the Russian Revolution (1917-1923). The son wants to join the revolution but his father wants him to stay home and work on the farm. Stevens, a huge fan of show tunes, wrote it in 1969 for a musical he was working on called Revolussia, which was set during the Russian Revolution. The song ended up on the Tea For The Tillerman album.

This is the song that got Stevens signed to Island Records. His first two albums were issued on Deram, a division of Decca. Stevens met with Island boss Chris Blackwell to talk about the musical he wrote this song for, but when Blackwell heard the song, he set his sights on getting Stevens on his label as an artist. Stevens’ first Island release was Mona Bone Jakon earlier in 1970; it was not just a new label for Stevens, but a new producer as well, with former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith taking the helm from Mike Hurst (ex-Springfields), who helped Stevens get his deal with Decca.

I’m really tired of superhero movies but I’m glad many songs of this era were included in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2…including this one. It exposes a new generation to these songs. 

The song peaked at #52 in the UK in 1970. 

Cat Stevens on his dad: “He was running a restaurant and I was a pop star, so I wasn’t following the path that he laid out. But we certainly didn’t have any antagonism between us. I loved him and he loved me.”

Cat Stevens: “I was in a Turkish restaurant one day and it came on the radio, one of my children said, ‘Dad, isn’t that your song?’ I said, ‘Why, yes it is!’ It turned out to be Boyzone. It’s a nice version and I’m grateful it was a clean-cut group who did it. I went to meet them at Top Of The Pops and we had a nice time. They’re a good bunch of lads.”

Cat Stevens: “The song is a testament to the differences we represent to each other, especially in age and traditions. Traditions have a big impact on our lives, and sometimes you’ve got to walk away.”

Father and Son

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

I was once like you are now
And I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found
Something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow
But your dreams may not

How can I try to explain?
When I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk
I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it slowly
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to go through
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

All the times that I’ve cried
Keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right I’d agree
But it’s them they know, not me
Now there’s a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

Tremeloes – Here Comes My Baby

This is a fun mid-sixties pop song by The Tremeloes. I like the live party atmosphere they created. Here Comes My Baby was written in 1966 by Cat Stevens. It was almost released as Steven’s first single, but “I Love My Dog” was thought to be stronger.

After “I Love My Dog’s” success, “Here Comes My Baby” was shelved for several months. The Tremeloes picked it up and it became their breakthrough hit in America and their first hit in the UK since their lead singer Brian Poole left them. The song’s success helped establish Cat Stevens as a songwriter and he included it on his first album Matthew And Son.

The Tremeloes had been a backup band for Brian Poole and when they split in 1966 after 8 UK hits, they looked to be another backing band set for junk pile. They bought in Len “Chip” Hawkes as their bassist and lead singer and their career took off.

Some trivia about the Tremeloes. Decca was looking to sign a guitar group in 1962 and the Tremeloes (at the time known as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes) and The Beatles auditioned… Decca picked The Tremeloes over The Beatles mostly because they were closer, based in London…while The Beatles were far away in Liverpool (Whoops!). That decision would haunt Dick Rowe (Decca Executive) for the rest of his life…He did end up signing The Rolling Stones though after a suggestion by George Harrison.

The song peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK Charts, and #7 in Canada in 1967.

This is one of those songs that I never get tired of and it always makes me feel good.  They did have some success after this song…Silence is Golden #13, Even the Bad Times Are Good #37, and several successful singles in the UK.

Cat Stevens version

Here Comes My Baby

In the midnight moonlight hour
I’ll be walking a long and lonely mile,
And every time I do,
I keep seeing this picture of youHere comes my baby, here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy,Well, here comes my baby, here she comes now,
Walking with a love,
With a love that’s oh so fine
Never to be mine, no matter how I try,

You’ll never walk alone,
and you’re forever talking on the phone
I try to call you names,
but every time it comes out the same

Here comes my baby; here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy,

Here comes my baby; here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy

Here comes my baby.

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

A Concert of The Mind…Fantasy Park

***Dave from A Sound Day has a new feature Turntable Talk…he will have an article by me today about Why the Beatles are still relevant…hope you get to read it.***

Fantasy Park: 1975 – Twin Cities Music Highlights

Imagine a concert in 1975 with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and more. Well, it happened! Sorta. Rod Serling did all of the radio promos. It would be one of his last projects…he would pass away before it aired.

It was a 48-hour-long rock concert (Fantasy Park) that was aired by nearly 200 radio stations over Labor Day weekend in 1975. The program, produced by KNUS in Dallas, featured performances by dozens of rock stars of the day and even reunited The Beatles. It was also completely imaginary, a theatre-of-the-mind for the 70s.

The “concert” was made up of live and studio recordings by the artists with live effects added to make it sound legit.

The show had college students hitchhiking all over America hoping to get to Fantasy Park. In New Orleans when the concert aired, the IRS came knocking on the doors of WNOE trying to attach the gate receipts to make sure the Feds got their cut! Callers were asking where they could get tickets to this amazing show.

The show was so popular in Minnesota that they played it again in its entirety the next year…now that people knew it wasn’t real and weren’t looking for tickets. The greatest concert that never was.  Fantasy Park had their own emcee and special reporters covering the weekend event giving you the play-by-play details along with some behind-the-scenes updates.

The concert would always be halted due to rain on a Sunday morning to allow the locals to get in their regular (usually religious) programming and the whole event always ended promptly at 6 pm on Sunday.

Now people look for the full 48-hour tapes of the show. They are a hot collector’s item. Rod Serling passed away on June 28, 1975.

Bands at Fantasy Park

Chicago
Elton John
Led Zeppelin
Joe Walsh
Cream
Shawn Phillips
Pink Floyd
Carly Simon
James Taylor (& Carol King)
Poco
Alvin Lee
Eagles
Linda Rondstadt
Dave Mason
Steve Miller
John Denver
Beach Boys
War
Grand Funk
Yes
Deep Purple
Rolling Stones
Cat Stevens
The Who
Rolling Stones
Moody Blues
Marshall Tucker Band
Allman Brothers Band
Seals & Crofts
America
Joni Mitchell
Doobie Brothers
Loggins and Messina
Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young
Bob Dylan
Beatles

Here is 10 minutes of it here.

Cat Stevens – Moonshadow

I bought Teaser and the Firecat because I enjoyed Steven’s album Tea For The Tillerman so much. I wasn’t disappointed…this was the first song I connected with on the album.

The song peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100 in 1971. The album peaked at #2 the same year.

Cat Stevens on the song: ” “I was on a holiday in Spain. I was a kid from the West End (of London) – bright lights, et cetera. I never got to see the moon on its own in the dark, there were always streetlamps. So there I was on the edge of the water on a beautiful night with the moon glowing, and suddenly I looked down and saw my shadow. I thought that was so cool, I’d never seen it before.”

He wrote part of the story of an animated short film that featured this very song. It was shown at the Fantastic Animation Festival in 1977. It begins with a still of the two characters from the “Teaser and the Firecat” album cover who then come to life.

 

From Songfacts

Stevens wrote this about finding hope in any situation. Be present and joyful. See life as it is, right now, and don’t compare it to others’ lives, or other times in your life. Every moment in life is rich and unique; whether we are aware of it or not, we are always leaping and hopping on a moonshadow – the inescapable present moment. If we are wrapped up in our whirlpools of worry and concern about what could be, or what has been, we are missing the richness of life as it is.

In the bridge of the song, Stevens seems to be speaking of faith, indicating clearly that, although he is experiencing this ecstasy in the present, despite all the losses and suffering of existence, it is the light that has found him, and not the other way around. He is surrendering to a power greater than himself – the “faithful light.” 

Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, considers this his favorite of his old songs. It’s one of the songs that convinced him to release a Greatest Hits record of his work as Cat Stevens. He felt its uplifting message could help people.

Director John Landis wanted to use this song in his 1981 horror comedy An American Werewolf in London. The film featured a number of songs with “moon” in the title (“Moon Dance”, “Blue Moon”, etc.) but Stevens, who had recently converted to Islam, refused permission because he did not like the subject matter of the film. 

Stevens has in recent years called this song the “Optimist’s anthem.” 

This song was used for a “Teaser And The Firecat” animation. The cover of the album came to life as the boy and cat ride on the moon while this song plays. It can be found on the Cat Stevens – Majikat (Earth Tour 1976) DVD. 

Artists to record this song include LaBelle, Roger Whittaker and Mandy Moore.

Moonshadow

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more

And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night

Moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

Cat Stevens – Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken is a beautiful piece of music.

Stevens got the lyrics from a hymn book he found at a bookstore while looking for song ideas. It was a children’s hymn by Eleanor Farjeon, who also wrote a lot of children’s poetry.

Cat Stevens: “I accidentally fell upon the song when I was going through a slightly dry period and I needed another song or two for Teaser And The Firecat. I came across this hymn book, found this one song, and thought, This is good. I put the chords to it and then it started becoming associated with me.”

The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard 100, #9 in the UK, #3 in New  Zealand and #4 in Canada. It was on the album Teaser and the Firecat which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Album Charts in 1972.

From Songfacts

Children in England would have heard Farjeon’s hymn in primary school. Scottish children sang the old Gaelic hymn, “Child in a manger, Infant of Mary” to this tune. This hymn predated “Morning” and was written in Gaelic by Mary MacDonald before being translated into English. For Scottish children it was a Christmas hymn. >>

Rick Wakeman, who later became a member of Yes, played keyboards on this track. He claims he was never paid for his work.

This was Stevens’ first single that did better in America than in England. “Peace Train” and “Wild World” were not released in the US.

This song is set to a Scottish tune entitled “Bunessan,” a melody that was named for a small island town in Scotland. >>

Neil Diamond recorded this in 1992 for his Christmas album (yes, Diamond is Jewish). His version went to #36 in the UK.

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight
Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning
God’s recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Rod Stewart – The First Cut Is The Deepest

Rod Stewart has covered many songs in his career. I’ve always liked this version of the song. It was written by Cat Stevens in 1967. The song peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100, #11 in Canada, and #1 in the UK in 1977. Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, United States, and it appeared on his 1976 album A Night on the Town. It was released as a double A-side single with “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”.

Rod Stewart had a total of 52 songs in the Billboard 100, 16 top 10 hits, and 4 number 1’s.

From Songfacts

This was written by Cat Stevens. It was a hit for P.P. Arnold in Britain in 1967, reaching #18 in the charts. Stevens, who included it on his debut album New Masters later in 1967, never released his version as a single, as he felt Arnold’s rendition was definitive.

P.P. Arnold is a female singer from America who got her start as one of Ike & Tina Turner’s backup performers (an Ikette). After two years with Ike & Tina, she moved to London and got a record deal with Immediate Records. Cat Stevens was also part of the London music scene at the time, and his song found it’s way to Arnold, who recorded it for her first album.

Arnold, who was in an abusive marriage as a teenager, felt it was a perfect song for her. “It encapsulated everything that I was at the time,” she said. “Having the courage to get out of that [abusive relationship] and create a life for me and my kids. What a blessing.”

In 1968, Arnold scored another UK hit when her cover of “Angel of the Morning” went to #29.

This is about a guy who has met a girl he wants to start a relationship with. In the song, he is explaining the hurt he feels because of his first love, and how it is keeping him from diving into this potential new relationship.

In America, the first version to chart was by Keith Hampshire, who took it to #70 in 1973. Rod Stewart covered it in 1976, taking it to #21 US and #1 UK; Sheryl Crow released her version in 2003, which made #14 in the US and #37 in the UK.

The First Cut is the Deepest

I would have given you all of my heart
But there’s someone who’s torn it apart
And she’s taken just all that I had
But if you want I’ll try to love again
Baby I’ll try to love again but I know

The first cut is the deepest
Baby I know the first cut is the deepest
But when it come to being lucky she’s cursed
When it come to loving me she’s the worst
I still want you by my side
Just to help me dry the tears that I’ve cried
And I’m sure going to give you a try
And if you want I’ll try to love again
Baby I’ll try to love again but I know

The first cut is the deepest
Baby I know the first cut is the deepest
But when it come to being lucky she’s cursed
When it come to loving me she’s the worst

I still want you by my side
Just to help me dry the tears that I’ve cried
But I’m sure gonna give you a try
‘Cause if you want I’ll try to love again
Baby I’ll try to love again but I know

Wooh
The first cut is the deepest
Baby I know the first cut is the deepest
When it come to being lucky she’s cursed
When it come to loving me she’s the worst