Singer, musician and
songwriter. As such, in the opinion of many, Cat Stevens is one of the most brilliant and
worthwhile talents to have emerged in the music scene in Britain in recent years.
He has been described as .
. One of the biggest and most genuine writing and performing talents of our
time. One of the most important artists of the 20th Century.
And One of the few people in the world capable of creating a total new world in
which you an believe.
Not only has Cat Stevens
numerous singles and 3 albums behind him, he has already finished the music score for the
movie production of Deep End starring Jane Asher, and his musical fantasia
Revolussia is near completion.
Cat Stevens was born Steven
Georgiou in July 1948 in the Hammersmith area of London. The second son of a Greek-born
father and a Swedish-born mother, he grew up in the hectic atmosphere of central London
where his parents still own and run a bustling cafe, the Moulin Rouge.
The complete 20th
Century child, he attended school in Londons West End and grew to accept the sight
of strippers running from one club engagement to another, to ceaseless traffic, to air
pollution, to miles of glaring neon, and the complete lack of wide-open spaces, trees and
On the completion of his
basic schooling, Cat was accepted as a student at the Hammersmith College of Art to study
his first love -- Art.
During his one year stay at
the Art College he began writing his own songs. He played these compositions to friends
who listened with appreciation, and then, as fate would have it, he was discovered.
His patron was a
businessman, complete with long cigar and the age-old cliche, Im gonna make
you a star.
The initial intention was
that the 17-year-old artist would work in the movies, but a series of events changed all
that. Mike Hurst, former member of the Springfields, and then producer at Decca Records,
heard a tape of Cat Stevens doing his own songs. Impressed with what he heard, Hurst set
up an elaborate demonstration session, and the results were presented to Dick Rowe, head
of Deccas A-and-R department.
Rowe raved over the results
and before you could say sign on the dotted line, Cat Stevens had signed and was launched
on Deccas new Dream label.
Pretty soon that original
star-making cliche became a reality -- Cat Stevens WAS a star and only the backing had
changed. The cigar-smoking businessman disappeared into oblivion as a big and heavy Agency
moved in behind Cat.
Cat became the focal point
of their operation. Everything was done for him -- clothes, presentation, manner, the
lot -- the machine took over -- he was now a product and had no personal
control over the situation. Consequently, despite a number of big hits including
Matthew and Son and I Love My Dog, Cat Stevens started to fret.
Desperately unhappy and
disillusioned as all his own wishes were either ignored or thrown out, and because is
agency demanded that he do constant tours and make appearances on television shows one
after another, he drove himself into the ground and a state of serious physical health.
So sick in fact that he
went to the doctor for a check-up and was told that one of his lungs had collapsed and the
other was in real danger of doing the same.
The case was stated
simply -- go into the hospital now for a lengthy curative rest or face the
possibility of dying within a couple of years. Cat Stevens had contracted tuberculosis. So
in 1968 he disappeared from the scene for 2 years. He spent some time at a sanatorium in
the country studying yoga and generally getting into metaphysics.
He did a great deal of
introspective thinking and wrote new songs, reflecting his true feelings at this time. His
illness is widely supposed to have been the stem of his present music. Many of the songs
he wrote at this time ultimately became tracks on his first album Mona Bone
On his release from the
hospital Cat made some rough versions of his own songs on a home tape machine and played
them to several people including Chris Blackwell, head of Island Records. Blackwell, in
turn, offered him a chance to record them whenever and with whoever he liked, and more
importantly to Cat, however he liked.
So Cat signed with Island
and completed writing the material for Mona Bone Jakon.
With a few hand-picked
musicians and producer Paul Samwell-Smith, he gradually recorded the album, finally
released it in the early months of 1970. The sound Cat wanted was captured perfectly on
the record with the help of Samwell-Smith who became an integral part of the Stevens
team. The music is pure, uncluttered, centered around the haunting rhythms of
Europe and coming across with such an honesty that is both startling and razor sharp.
The album was an
outstanding success, both artistically and financially. A single from the album,
Lady DArbanville, made the top ten charts in Britain, France, Holland,
Sweden, Italy and Germany and the album itself made No. 1 in France, got very high in
Holland and Germany, and concerts he gave in those countries were sold out weeks in
As a result of the response
to Mona Bone Jakon, Cat Stevens flew to Paris where he was presented in a solo
concert in a 35-minute television special, networked nationwide.
Playing a few selected
clubs and concert dates Cat soon established himself as a much-in-demand live performer in
Britain. The climax came when he blew all the other name acts off the stage at the
Saturday afternoon concert of the 1970 Plumpton Jazz Festival.
The Cat was well and truly
back -- at the top.
Following the success of
Jakon and the restoring of his confidence, Cat began working again with Paul
Samwell-Smith -- the outcome being his second album Tea for the Tillerman
which was released in Britain and Europe in October 1970, and the United States shortly
afterwards. A fortnight after its release Tea for the Tillerman rocketed to
No. 23 in the British album charts, sold twice as well as Jakon and followed
its predecessor up the European chart listings.
Tillerman were every bit as good as those for Jakon, if anything,
better. Numerous people who gave cursory attention to the album because of the past
history of the artist as a young man, suddenly became aware of his amazing talents.
After completing a number
of British concerts Cat embarked on his first trip to the U.S.A. He stepped for the first
time on to an American concert platform to face one of the toughest audiences in the world
-- that of a packed house who had come to see, not him, but the headliners, Traffic.
But the tables were turned
and at the end of his performance Cat Stevens received a standing ovation and was brought
back for three encores.
Back in Britain Cat began
work on his latest album Teaser And The Firecat which again proved an
Teaser And The
Firecat follows his first two albums not just as another step in the passage of time
but as evidence of the inexorable linking of a mans life with his work.
Jakon told the story of Cats early rise to success, the effects of this,
his illness and the beginning of his comeback.
consisted of a series of tracks that reflected his state of mind, his opinions and his
life as he then found it.
this relationship between the man and his life another step forward. It is a beautiful
album reflecting the happiness of the artist who has found truth in his work. Cat Stevens
wants to communicate his feeling of happiness, peace and optimism by singing out to the
world as he does in the track Peace Train . . .
- Now Ive been happy lately
- Thinking about the good things to come . . .
- Peace train take this country
- Come take me home again . . .
- Centerfold poster
for THE PAUL DAINTY
CORPORATION (AUST.) PTY. LIMITED
|Secretary To Mr. Dainty
|Secretary to Mr. Blackmore
|Press representative U.K
for CAT STEVENS
|| ERIC BARRETT
Sound by WEM
acknowledge the assistance of countless people throughout Australia
in the organizing of "Zimmering", and a special thank you to:
- PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS INC.
- ANSETT AIRLINES OF AUSTRALIA
- COCA COLA BOTTLERS THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA.
|2 S.M. SYDNEY
||3 X.Y. MELBOURNE
|5 K.A. ADELAIDE
||4 I.P. BRISBANE
6 P.M. PERTH
- THE CHANNEL 7 NETWORK, MELBOURNE,
- SYDNEY, BRISBANE, ADELAIDE
- and CHANNEL 9 PERTH.
- Advertisement for Cat's 1st book 'Teaser
and the Firecat'