CAT STEVENS: Reconnecting with his ’70s Musical Legacy




The former Cat Stevens, preparing for Thursday night’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, describes how he’s reconnected to music in the new millenium. In a guest column for, Yusuf Isalm says, “Even with the entire world sinking deeper into despair, we can still sing! The spirit of humanity can be subdued, but never vanquished. And nothing brings out that spirit like a good song.”

A pivotal moment came in 2001, after singing “Peace Train” for a tribute concert to 9/11 victims at Radio City Music Hall in New York. He describes it as “the sleepy train began to chug its way slowly uphill again.”

“Two years later, while living in Dubai, my son brought home a guitar. It was my first meeting with it since 1979. And suddenly a floodgate was opened. Playing some of my old songs made me weep; it was clear I had a new job to do.”

Aware that his religious faith — and his own statements, such as endorsing the fatwa (order of death) against author Salman Rushie — drove a rift between himself and the musical establishment. The singer-songwriter closes by saying: “The power of charity and human compassion must have been present when the judges of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame decided my history. It will no doubt do much to heal the scars that many years of separation have caused and help to reconnect people to my legacy, which still speaks loud and clear in my music. As the Tillerman might himself say, ‘So nice to see you coming back in this town again. It’s nice to see a friendly face come peeping through, having tea in the afternoon.'”

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