Cat Stevens: Classic Or Dud?

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I can't find any threads about this guy. Anyway, I've been listening to his hits courtesy of my college network, and the songwriting (at the very least) is damn fine. So many good tunes. What do y'all think?

Tim Stewart, Sunday, 4 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Dud. Just because Boyzone covered Father & Son and then the Flips stole half the melody for Fight Test, thus ruining my enjoyment of Yoshimi, because all I can hear for the first track is Ronan The Date- Rape Nazi pining for his daddy and it puts me in a mood for the next 45 minutes.

Nick Southall, Sunday, 4 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

CLASSIC,60's Cat Stevens total genius[Matthew & Son,I love my dog,It's a Supa Dupa Life,Lovely City,I'm gonna get me a gun etc] DUD,70's Cat[Father & Son,Morning has Broken]

Paul R, Sunday, 4 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Dud, despite Wes Anderson.

J Blount, Sunday, 4 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Oh, and despite Hal Ashby also.

J Blount, Sunday, 4 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic, despite being a fundamentalist muslim who supported the fatwa on Salman Rushdie.

Alex in NYC, Monday, 5 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

another awful hippie with overwraught lyrics. he was a religous prick long before he came out of the closet.

Andrew, Monday, 5 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Oh, what's a fatwa here and there. (See Gallagher vs. Albarn, Wire vs. Stipe, various MCs)

dave q, Monday, 5 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic melodies, obviously, or he wouldn't have been ripped off by the likes of the Pet Shop Boys, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Flaming Lips. I agree with Alex. The biggest hits were the biggest duds, though ("Moonshadow", "Morning Has Broken", "Peace Train", that awful cover of "Another Saturday Night"--YUCK) and I've HATED nearly all the covers, outside of P.P. Arnold and the Tremeloes. (10,000 Maniacs "Peace Train"-good lord.)

Arthur, Monday, 5 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

And then they yanked it post-fatwa!

J Blount, Monday, 5 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

10,000 Maniacs are poosies! Jingle Jangle Folk Rock poosies!

Arthur, Monday, 5 August 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

three years pass...
Matthew & Son is a classic. I was shocked to see people hating on it on rateyermusic. maybe it is a little overproducd, but fuckin great nonetheless. love the cello sounds he got on that album.

the eunuchs, Cassim and Mustafa, who guarded Abdur Ali's harem (orion), Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:25 (sixteen years ago) link

"Portobello Road" = CLASSIC

neil tacus (tacit), Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:34 (sixteen years ago) link

Classic, penis eater.
The dud is hardly a "fundamentalist." He wrote fucking "Peace Train"!

max (maxreax), Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Good acoustic guitar work though. Everybody wrote a Peace train in those days.

jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 25 June 2006 02:46 (sixteen years ago) link

CLASSIC for one song alone. "Was a Dog A Donut"

lookit, i'm about to put it on!

jäxøñ (jaxon), Sunday, 25 June 2006 03:19 (sixteen years ago) link

all I can hear for the first track is Ronan The Date- Rape Nazi pining for his daddy and it puts me in a mood for the next 45 minutes.

I'm really glad I don't know what the hell this means.

Which Pet Shop Boys song? I haven't made/can't make the connection. (And the F. Lips wasn't that egregious a theft, jeez!)

(I say "Classic" because "Where Do the Children Play" and "If You Want to Be Free, Be Free" and "Sitting" mean a lot to me personally [and melodically!], mildly countered by the fact that the "Another Saturday Night" cover is one of my least favorite singles ever; dodging all the religion stuff for now.)

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Sunday, 25 June 2006 06:10 (sixteen years ago) link

That Pete Yorn song "Crystal Village" sounds a lot like it, too.
(Father & Son, that is.)
yair i like portobello road

electric sound of jim (and why not) (electricsound), Sunday, 25 June 2006 06:41 (sixteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
Panda Bear recently gave him a big endorsement so I gave a listen to Teaser, Tillerman, and Buddha. As much as I love Mr. Bear, I have to say the Cat Stevens just seemed weak. Like a cup of tea, dilute. He could come up with tunes, definitely, but nothing made me feel any bite, any pain. Not quite insipid, just meh.

Rich Smörgasbord, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 02:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Cat Stevens' political/religious views (and the general lack of controversy thereof) makes you wonder what all the fuss Bryan Ferry is about.

novaheat, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 02:30 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

"Boy With A Moon & Star On His Head" = one of the subtler realizations of the singer-songwriter urge of the 70s

J0hn D., Monday, 23 June 2008 01:38 (fourteen years ago) link

"Tea for the Tillerman" and "Here Comes My Baby" = CLASSIC

Tape Store, Monday, 23 June 2008 01:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Ray >>>>> Cat

velko, Monday, 23 June 2008 01:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Huge classic. He's got a few kooky moments, especially toward the end of his output, but overall he is total classic. I love the purity of his songs - the quest so many of his songs are about. I guess some might hear cheesiness but I think it's nearly all really beautiful.

pgwp, Monday, 23 June 2008 16:55 (fourteen years ago) link

"The Streak" is surely dud. What's the point about a comedy song that isn't funny?

Geir Hongro, Monday, 23 June 2008 21:51 (fourteen years ago) link

Hmmm.. I must have read the title as Ray Stevens.

Cat Stevens released one great and one almost great album in the early 70s. Don't know the rest of his output too well.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 23 June 2008 21:52 (fourteen years ago) link

this guy was a singles artist and total pop to the bone until his conversion. albums are pretty patchy.

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 23 June 2008 21:57 (fourteen years ago) link

agree, but boy, whoever was designing those album sleeves didn't get the memo, because those are some of the most Here Is A Proper Album sleeve presetnations of their day

J0hn D., Monday, 23 June 2008 22:12 (fourteen years ago) link

seven months pass...

Woke up this morning with "Mona Bone Jakon" in my head & thought of starting this thread. Then heard some other song on the radio this afternoon and was, "Well, this is Cat Stevens C/D day, isn't it?"


staggerlee, Thursday, 29 January 2009 01:51 (thirteen years ago) link

KLASSIC. best song --> "gonna get myself a gun"

Pantheism F. Mohair (res), Thursday, 29 January 2009 02:34 (thirteen years ago) link

Great singer, I think.

thirdalternative, Thursday, 29 January 2009 16:59 (thirteen years ago) link

nine months pass...

he seems to exist independent of any particular scene (for ex. I don't recognize a single musician in any of his bands or anybody who worked on his records) and he doesn't quite fit any particular tag too well (he does stuff that's obviously too rock for folk, and is sorta too hippie-dippy to fit in with slicker singer-songwriters). He kinda fits in with Jim Croce I guess, except Croce is American and had quite a different approach, much more humorous... still can't make it through an entire album tho.

hoth as fuck (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 12 November 2009 23:47 (thirteen years ago) link

Hard for me to imagine someone hating this:

Mark, Friday, 13 November 2009 01:18 (thirteen years ago) link

five months pass...

love this guy so much. Teaser + the Firecat is all time classic.

Mordy, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 17:32 (twelve years ago) link

It varies. Early pop stuff: so-so
Teaser thru Buddah & the Chocolate Box: classic
Foreigner: OK-ish
The stuff after that: Dud
Izitso is among the most heinous Dudclumps I can think of.

ImprovSpirit, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 17:47 (twelve years ago) link

Brio, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 19:00 (twelve years ago) link

wow that's a pretty shitty MoTown ripoff

the sound of a norwegian guy being wrong (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 5 May 2010 23:08 (twelve years ago) link

ha - that's pretty inarguable, but it has a certain craptacular charm I think. the Cat version on Matthew and Son is a bit more polished. "When I Speak To The Flowers" is the real gem off that.

Brio, Thursday, 6 May 2010 13:49 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

really feeling the keyboard player here

NUDE. MAYNE. (s1ocki), Monday, 7 June 2010 19:51 (twelve years ago) link

Surprised at the amount of duds here. I just assumed everyone was okay with Cat Stevens. I second the 'he seems to exist independent of any particular scene'. Is that the block? That parents generally like Cat Stevens and he doesn't really have a narrative? But hating the songs? Not sure I get that.

He gets a classic from me, because while I might not actively listen to the guy, I can recall at least half a dozen of his melodies. And if I were drunk, and someone put on a Cat Stevens record, I'd happily sing along.

Popture, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 00:37 (twelve years ago) link

i'd say neither c nor d. i'm "okay with him", but am real fine w/out

If you can believe your eyes and ears (outdoor_miner), Tuesday, 8 June 2010 01:42 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

classic. he makes me sad and nostalgic in a way that I don't think any other singer consistently does.

Poliopolice, Monday, 21 January 2013 00:32 (nine years ago) link

just turn up the cat stevens and long for the days before bill gates put so many good polio policemen out of work

Rihanna Tootysalsafroyo (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 21 January 2013 01:05 (nine years ago) link

two weeks pass...

The first cut is the deepest is a great song, could've been a motown single.

Moka, Saturday, 9 February 2013 20:49 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

A letter from him was published in the Toronto Star the other day. Didn't read the piece that prompted it.

clemenza, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 00:44 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

'Matthew & Son' is one of the most unheralded influences on British new wave, I think. The piano lick/chorus (lyrics aside) is something that Gary Numan could have come up with in the late '70s/early '80s. The middle-eight recalls the pre-chorus in Tears For Fears' 'Mad World'!

You’re being too simplistic and you’re insulting my poor heart (Turrican), Thursday, 8 January 2015 04:12 (seven years ago) link

six years pass...


brimstead, Thursday, 9 September 2021 22:43 (one year ago) link

“Sitting” is such an odd song, it almost reaches the intensity of those John Cale songs where he loses his shit a couple minutes in. And yet he ends a bunch of lines with this vague, half-hearted “or so”/“or something.” Weird songwriting choice!

JoeStork, Thursday, 9 September 2021 23:11 (one year ago) link

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