Yusuf, formerly known as Cat Stevens has shared two previously unheard tracks with The Big Issue ahead of the re-release of his most celebrated albums.
Released only seven months apart in 1970, Mona Bone Jakon and Tea for the Tillerman established him as one of the world’s leading singer-songwriters and defined an era. The records will be rereleased as 50th anniversary Super Deluxe Collector’s Edition box sets in December.
‘I Want Some Sun’ and ‘Can This Be Love’ are both fantastic snapshots of a classic era but also eerily prescient. The environmental and humanitarian themes Yusuf explored across these records still resonate strongly today even after 50 years.
Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription
Inspired by a near-fatal battle with tuberculosis and an extended period of convalescence, during which he studied classical music, metaphysical literature and meditative self-reflection, Mona Bone Jakon is a deeply personal album and arguably the most compelling and human of all of Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ work.
Tillerman, released the same year, shows how quickly he was evolving as an artist. It contains hits such as ‘Where Do the Children Play?’, ‘Hard Headed Women’, ‘Sad Lisa’ – as well as the era-defining songs ‘Father & Son’ and ‘Wild World’.
Speaking about the continuing power of some of the songs Yusuf said:
“‘Where Do The Children Play?’ is so relevant. It tells it like it is – that we need to change our ways. Looking at the world today and the message in this 50-year-old song, it looks like the world never grew up.
“‘Father & Son’ feels pretty appropriate for what’s going on right now, if you take the father figure as being the establishment. However, I don’t think revolutions are that kind to the previous order. And the main objective is to turn it around and to get rid of them whereas I don’t believe in that. I believe in a kind of a change that would not necessarily destroy everything.”
Each box set will contain a host of unreleased material, live performances and memorabilia.