Learn the music of Cat Stevens at Bird School of Music

This session we’ll explore the work of folk-rock singer/songwriter Cat Stevens, whose mellow, introspective style translated into a string of hits in the 1970s.

Before you dismiss Stevens as easy listening, consider that everyone from Jimmy Cliff (“Wild World”) to the Flaming Lips (“Father & Son”) has covered or borrowed from Stevens over the years. You might know his hit “The First Cut is the Deepest” from Sheryl Crow’s version a few years back – or Rod Stewart’s. From Johnny Cash (“Father & Son”) and Dolly Parton (“Peace Train,” recorded with the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo) to 10,000 Maniacs (“Peace Train”), The Chieftans (“Morning Has Broken”), Marianne Faithful and Sarah McLaughlin (both covered “Sad Lisa”), Pearl Jam and The Red Hot Chili Peppers (both have covered “Trouble” in concerts), lots of performers across various genres have interpreted Stevens’ work, and we’re excited to put our own spin on his songs.

Born Steven Demetre Georgiou and also known as Steve Adams and Yusuf Islam over the years, Stevens hasn’t shied away from reinventing himself, or from exploring issues he cares about in his songs, from the environment to spirituality.

Whether he’s transforming a hymn with 19th century roots into a modern folk anthem (“Morning Has Broken”), playing his “stripped-down folk” of the 70s or returning to the early R&B and blues music that inspired him early on, Stevens writes with a musical depth that might surprise those of us who only know him from AM radio (or don’t know who he is at all, in some cases!).

Songs to explore:
Another Saturday Night
Can’t Keep It In
Father and Son
The First Cut Is the Deepest
Hard Headed Woman
Here Comes My Baby
Here Comes My Wife
The Hurt
I Love My Dog
If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out
Just Another Night
Lady d’Arbanville
Matthew & Son
Miles From Nowhere
Morning Has Broken
Peace Train
(Remember the Days of the) Old School Yard
Sad Lisa
Where Do the Children Play?
Wild World
The Wind