cat stevens 2
Simon Fernandez / Wikicommons
  • Faith: Muslim
  • Career: Musician
  • Birthday:  July 24, 1948

Yusuf Islam, commonly known by his stage name, Cat Stevens, is a musician and singer-songwriter. He’s sold more than 100 million records and has over two billion streams. His musical style consists of rock, folk, pop, and, later in his career, Islamic music. After 20 years in which he performed only music that met strict religious standards, he returned to making secular music in 2006. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His 1967 debut album and its title song, “Matthew and Son,” both reached the top 10 in the UK charts.

Stevens’ albums “Tea for the Tillerman” and “Teaser and the Firecat” were certified triple platinum in the US. His 1972 album “Catch Bull at Four” went No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spent weeks at the top of several major charts. He earned ASCAP songwriting awards in 2005 and 2006 for “The First Cut is the Deepest,” which has been a hit for four artists. His other hit songs include “Father and Son,” “Wild World,” “Moonshadow,” “Peace Train,” and “Morning Has Broken.” In 2006, he returned to pop music by releasing his first new studio album of new pop songs in 28 years, entitled “An Other Cup.” With that release and subsequent ones, he dropped the surname “Islam” from the album cover art, using the stage name Yusuf as a mononym.

In 2009, he released the album “Roadsinger,” and in 2014, he released the album “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone” and started his first US tour since 1978. His second North American tour since his resurgence, featuring 12 shows in intimate venues, ran from September to October 2016. In 2017, he released the album “The Laughing Apple,” now using the stage name Yusuf/Cat Stevens, using the Cat Stevens name for the first time in 39 years. In September 2020, he released “Tea for the Tillerman 2,” a reimagining of his classic album to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and in June 2023, he released his latest studio album, “King of a Land.”

Stevens was born in London and is the youngest child of Stavros and Ingrid. He has an older sister, Anita, and a brother, David. His family lived above the Moulin Rogue, a restaurant his parents operated on the north end of Shaftesbury Avenue, a short walk from Piccadilly Circus in the Soho theatre district of London. All of his family members worked in the restaurant. His parents divorced when he was eight years old, but continued to maintain the family restaurant and live above it. He also has a half-brother, George.

What religion is Cat Stevens?

Stevens converted to Islam in December 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam the following year. In 1979, he auctioned his guitars for charity and left his musical career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community. He’s since repurchased at least one of the guitars he sold as a result of the efforts of his son, Yoriyos. He was embroiled in a controversy regarding comments he made in 1989 about the fatwa placed on author Salman Rushdie in response to the publication of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses. He explained the incident by saying, “Certain questions cleverly framed me. I never supported the fatwa.”

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