Eligible for induction since 1992, Cat Stevens waited until 2006 to first appear on a ballot, then had a second chance in 2014, when he finally made it in.
1970’s Tea For the Tillerman was the first of two back-to-back albums that made Cat Stevens a worldwide star. Its follow-up, Teaser and the Firecat, joined this album in going triple platinum in the U.S. while also charting in Europe and beyond.
Those are also the only two Cat Stevens albums I own, and for a minor fan, probably the only two you need.
Sure, it has its highlight moments, including ‘The Wind,’ ‘Morning Has Broken,’ ‘Moonshadow,’ and ‘How Can I Tell You,’ one of the prettiest loves songs ever written. But ‘Rubylove,’ ‘If I Laugh,’ ‘Changes IV,’ ‘Tuesday’s Dead’ and ‘Peace Train’ are all worthy of high praise.
Teaser and the Firecat – Cat Stevens (1971)
Most of the artists on this 70s list have successfully released music in the decades since. Cat Stevens is an exception. Nine of the 11 albums he released under this name (setting aside his work as Yusuf in the 90s and 00s) came out in the 70s. He couldn’t really belong to any other decade.
When it comes to music in movies, it’s usually the songs I don’t know well that have the biggest impact on me. That way the music and images arrive all of a piece without prior associations. Sometimes when a song I know well is used in a movie it’s jarring and actually takes me out of the film.
One big exception was the use of Cat Stevens’ ‘The Wind’ in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. I knew this song very well and loved it, having worn out my copy of Teaser and the Firecat during high school and college. So when the opening notes kicked in during the kite scene in Rushmore, it could easily have gone wrong.