Tonight (October 17th) on the world famous Classic Album At Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Cat Stevens’ Teaser and the Firecat in full on vinyl, courtesy of The Record Hub.
The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.
Success came instantly for Cat Stevens (who now goes under the name of Yusuf after converting to Islam). His debut single, 1966’s I Love My Dog, reached number 28 on the UK singles chart, while his debut album Matthew and Son produced a number two single of the same name. The album itself reached number seven in the UK.
His 1967 followup, New Masters, was a surprising flop, though its song The First Cut is the Deepest would ultimately earn Stevens a fortune when it was later covered by the likes of PP Arnold, Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow.
When he was hospitalised with a serious case of tuberculosis in 1969, Stevens reassessed his outlook on life, embracing spiritualism, becoming a vegetarian and taking up yoga and meditation. This new philosophy would influence Stevens’ musical direction in the following years.
Starting with 1970’s Mona Bone Jakon, Stevens pared down his sound, embracing an acoustic, folky aesthetic. This continued on the same year’s Tea for the Tillerman, the album that made Stevens a star outside his native Britain. The inclusion of three songs from Mona Bone Jakon on the soundtrack of Hal Ashby’s 1971 film Harold & Maude brought Stevens new fame in the US.
By 1971, a new Cat Stevens album was hotly anticipated. True to form, Stevens surprised everyone by writing and illustrating a children’s book titled Teaser and the Firecat. The story told of a young boy called Teaser and his pet cat, who try to return the moon to space when it falls to Earth. Prior to publication of the book, Stevens released an album of the same name, with an illustration of its titular heroes serving as the album artwork.
For the Teaser and the Firecat album, Stevens continued his fruitful collaboration with Alun Davies, who had served as a second acoustic guitarist on Stevens’ previous two albums. Also featuring on the album are keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who plays the distinctive piano riff on Morning Has Broken, and singer Linda Lewis, who adds her vocals to How Can I Tell You.
Teaser and the Firecat features 10 songs – The Wind; Rubylove; If I Laugh; Changes IV; How Can I Tell You; Tuesday’s Dead; Morning Has Broken; Bitterblue; Moonshadow; and Peace Train.
Teaser and the Firecat was released on October 1st 1971. It cracked the Top 3 in both the UK and US and became Australia’s biggest selling album of 1972 after spending 15 weeks at the top of that country’s album chart.
The album produced three hit singles. Stevens’ cover of the hymn Morning Has Broken reached number one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, as did Peace Train. Moonshadow would later inspire a Spike Milligan narrated segment of the 1977 film Fantastic Animation Festival and provide the title of Stevens’ 2012 jukebox stage musical.
You can enjoy the acoustic delights of Cat Stevens at midnight tonight on Radio Nova.