Tea for the tillerman

Steven Georgiou was born on 21 July 1948 in the Marylebone area of London. He was the son of a greek father and swedish mother. Together with his brother, sister and parents he grew up above a restaurant his parents owned.
In 1965 when he was Steve Adams
He began performing under the name "Steve Adams" in 1965 while at Hammersmith School of Art. Georgiou began performing his songs in London coffee houses and pubs in 1966. At first he tried forming a band but realised he preferred performing solo. Very soon he changed his stage name to Cat Stevens. Because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat.
I Love My Dog / Matthew And Son - single cover
Then he got a record deal and his first singles were hits: "I Love My Dog" reached #28 in the UK and #21 in the Netherlands, "Matthew And Son" reached #2 and "I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun" was another top 10 hit. The album "Mathew And Son" reached #7 in the UK. The original version of the Tremeloes' hit "Here Comes My Baby" was written and recorded by Stevens. His 1967 album "New Masters" failed to chart in the United Kingdom. Nowadays the album is best known for the song "The First Cut Is the Deepest" which became a hit for Rod Stewart. In 1969 Stevens was near dead when he had tuberculosis and he spent months in a hospital. During this time Stevens began to question aspects of his life and spirituality. He read about other religions and became a vegetarian. Besides this he also wrote 40 songs which would be released throughout the next years.
Mona Bone Jakon - album cover
The lack of succes of the second album and his new lifestyle changed his music style into the one we all know and love. First he broke up with the Deram label on which the first 2 albums were released. Then he signed a new record deal with Island Records after he played some of his new material for label owner Chris Blackwell. His first folk album would be "Mona Bone Jakon". The first single released from Mona Bone Jakon was "Lady D'Arbanville" which Stevens wrote about his young American girlfriend Patti D'Arbanville. The single reaced #8 in the UK and #2 in the Netherlands. The album managed to reach #8 in the UK. By that time he was again a "Pop Star" (also a song from "Mona Bone Jakon"). The album also featured another of his classics "Katmandu" with Peter Gabriel on flute.
Wild World - single cover
But his succes became bigger with "Tea for the Tillerman", his fourth album released in 1970. His breakthrough album reaching #8 in the US, #20 in the UK and # in the Netherlands. Also giving him his first Top 20 hit with the single "Wild World" in the US where it reached #11.
The album holds many great songs like "Hard Headed Woman". A simple song about the search for love. "Father And Son" a dialogue between father and son about life. Now also very well known from the "Guardians Of The Galaxy part 2" movie. "On the Road to Find Out" which describes a man beginning to determine which long and winding road he should take through this life. "Miles from Nowhere" is more about stopping to look around you once in a while than about anything religious. The song “Longer Boats” is referring to Greek mythology. The souls of the departed were carried across the river Styx to an afterlife: heaven or hell. The passage across the river was by boat and the pilots were Tillermen (Tea for the Tillerman). The catch is, which way were the boats going? Were they long, longer or longest boats? Stevens uses this riddle to leave uncertainty about which boat to catch.

He continued to had success througout the 70's. In 1977 he converted to muslim and in 1978 changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He then left the music business for almost 2 decades before returning in 2006.

This year he will release Tea For The Thillerman 2. A 2020 remake of his 1970 hit album.
Original album cover
Tea For The Tillerman (1970)
Where Do The Children Play? / Hard Headed Woman / Wild World / Sad Lisa / Miles From Nowhere / But I Might Die Tonight / Longer Boats / Into White / On The Road To Findout / Father And Son / Tea For The Tillerman

Father And Son  (1970)

Longer Boats  (1970)
Wild World  (1970)
Mathew And Son (1966)

Lady D'Arbanville (1970)

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