Est. 1999

logomaji1.gif (23692 bytes)

I raise my hand and touch the wheel of change
taking time to check the dial

                                                                      Home      Articles     Messageboard  

 This wonderful article from the Australian TV Weekly equipped with the wonderful color cover and pin up, comes courtesy of Bruce Lawrie.

The Lonely World of Cat Stevens

Tv cov.jpg (16823 bytes)

Australian TV Week
9 September 1972

by Stephanie Thompson

When Cat Stevens appears on stage, he sits down with his guitar and he sings. Just that. There's no flip patter, no joking remarks, no light chat. One might be forgiven for thinking that Singtv.jpg (15341 bytes)the whole thing is an astute theatrical ploy thought up by clever publicity men. For there's no doubt that it adds a dramatic intensity to the on-stage performance of one of the leading singing composers of the ballad world. It is, however, a completely genuine reticence. As such it provides a clue to the essential core of the personality of Cat Stevens, a self-confessed introvert and that rare thing in the pop world, a reluctant superstar.

Stevens, who arrived in Australia on August 20, was given his name by a former girlfriend because of the way he screws up his sleepy dark eyes. But the name is more apt than just that. For, like a cat, he is a loner: a man who, after five years in the public eye, has never been at ease with the glare of the spotlight. He shuns publicity; lives alone in a half-decorated house in Fulham, London; mixes with a small circle of close friends and is most relaxed with his own family.

He was born Stephen Georgiou, the son of a Greek restaurant owner and a Swedish mother, in central London. The restaurant loomed large in his life. It kept his parents together (they are separated, but work together at the cafe) and it was there during the washing up that he thought up the songs that made him famous. "Washing up is the most boring job in the world, so I thought up songs as I stacked the dishes. Then I'd rush up to my room and write them down," explained Cat. It was over the washing up that he thought up his firstB&wtv.jpg (14559 bytes) hit song, I Love My Dog, and then his second, Matthew And Son.

At 18, he became an overnight success, swept along by the wave of pop-mania that had begun with the Beatles and soon encompassed so many British pop writers and singers. Cat's earnings jumped from 2 pounds a night to 300 pounds a night. Cautiously he put his money aside. "I have seen too many kings for a day and paupers for years in show business," he said, with admirable sense. But it was not just sense. It was also his introvert nature showing through. He liked neither flashy cars nor luxury homes nor noisy nightclubs.

Cat Stevens soon found that he didn't like personal appearances, either. The strain of appearing on stage five nights a week soon began to show. To calm his nerves he smoked heavily and drank brandy before a show - often a bottle a night. The inevitable happened. He collapsed. And when he went to hospital the doctors found that he had tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. He spent three months in hospital, another year recuperating. His career was in ruins along with his health. At 20, Cat Stevens was written off as a has-been. No one, however, reckoned on his hidden strength and on his complete and utter dedication to music. Cat emerged from his illness a stronger and more dynamic character. He had finally made peace with himself - and with the world. "I nearly went mad," he says of the time before he collapsed. "I was in mental pain for a long time and my mind was losing the ability to cope with certain incidents. "After a while, when a couple of records didn't happen, I began to blame it on all sorts of things - the production, the public's bad taste." While he was recuperating, Cat began writing songs again. Away from the pressure of conforming to his own pop image, he was able to define more clearly his own style of music.

Tvpinup.jpg (18083 bytes)His first album after his illness, Mona Bone Jakon, released in 1970, made it absolutely certain that Cat Stevens was again a name to look out for. Songs like the beautifully hesitant Morning Has Broken, and the subtleties of Wild World and Moonshadow soon confirmed it. The songs that Stevens has written on three more famous LPs in the two years since his illness have won him an even larger and more fanatical following than anything he ever did before. He has lost his teeny bopper image, revealing a new depth on an all together different level.

There can be few song writers whose new work is so genuinely awaited by an eager army of pop pundits. To them, he sums up all the finer things of pop and all the true brilliance of contemporary ballad writing. He admits that: "I eat, sleep and drink my music. It really takes up all my thinking time." He could, he says, go without girls for a year for his music and indeed he shuns the approaches of the teenage groupies who are part and parcel of the pop world. He says he has been in love twice in his life, the most recent with Pattie D'Arbanville, who inspired his hit single Lady D'Arbanville. But he is frankly wary of falling in love again. "I've been in love twice and when we split up it tore me to pieces," he said. For the moment at least, Cat Stevens will continue to be a loner.

This site is best viewed on "800 x 600" screen resolution.
Site Creator - Christine Chenevey   
Special Thanks To:   Jill Mallow, *Keith Balaam, George Brown, Linda Crafar, Bruce Lawrie, DJ Illingworth, Gerardo Roman, Chris & Annie Abrams, Patricia Squillari, Harry Schmieder, Sue Vukson and all who have contributed either with material or support to help make Majicat magical.
* This site is dedicated in the memory of Keith Balaam. ---<----<----@