'Underneath the Covers' has
been placed together by the hard work and
dedication of George Brown,
and I'd like to thank him for allowing Majicat
to publish it on the site.
never realized there have been so many musicians
who have performed Cat Stevens music. We all
know about the more commonly known cover songs
by such artist as Rod Stewert, The Tremeloes,
and Jimmy Cliff. But to read this article
and actually see how many cover songs there
have been over the years, make one realize
how highly regarded Cats' music is by the
many men and women who are his contemporaries.
To see so many musicians lovingly performing
Cats music, is a real tribute to the man and
his music. And proves to us in a whole knew
light that Cats music will continue to live
on, even if Cat/Yusuf never performs
it live again.
look at the many cover versions of songs
by Cat Stevens
BY PROXY AN INTRODUCTION
Hopefully, the following
essay is of interest as it contains information
concerning the many Cat Stevens cover versions
that have appeared over the years. It should
make a nice companion book to Cat Stevens
The Complete Illustrated Biography
from the outset of Cats career, his
contemporaries were queuing up for pages of
his songbook. I first decided to write this
article after reading an interesting thread
on the UKs "Remember Cat Stevens"
website. I found that being a sad individual
and wearing my Cat Stevens anorak at the time
I was not content with collecting just
Cat Stevens songs alone. My interests had
veered towards the many cover versions recorded
by the well known and not so well known artists
who had used Cats songs.
For me, the best interpretation
of any of Cats songs is by the man himself.
However, its always good to hear other
artists' reworking of the songs. Cover versions
in general have always fascinated me especially
in the way that a singer/arranger can reinvent
someone elses work. Two songs that immediately
spring to mind are Joe Cockers version
of "With A Little Help From My Friends"
and Jimi Hendrixs majestic "Hey
Joe". Its best forgotten that William
Shatner tackled "Lucy In The Sky With
Diamonds"! Led Zeppelin based most of
their early material on old Blues singers'
work - bringing the genre into the mainstream.
Where would the Beatles and Rolling Stones
have been without people like Arthur Alexander,
Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard,
Willie Dixon et al?
Without wishing to go off on too much of
a tangent - this account focuses on how the
songs of Cat Stevens were developed, stroke
murdered! I have tried to stay as non-judgemental
about these as my conscience allows me! The
original working title of this essay was in
fact called, "The Good, The Bad &
The Ugly"! As far as quality reworking
goes, the best in my opinion are P.P. Arnolds
"The First Cut Is the Deepest" and
Double Features "Baby Get Your
Head Screwed On". "Portobello Road"
by Alun Davies and "The Wind" by
Mary Hopkin are very closely behind. For innovation,
its E-Reals "Wild World"!
Lets keep the thread going - over to
ARTIST SONGS PERFORMED BY CAT STEVENS
ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT
start with two songs by other artists that
Cat covered himself! "Another Saturday
Night" was of course the great Sam
Clay before he embraced Islam, pictured with
Sam Cooke after the Liston vs. Clay fight
Monday" was written by Dave Bartholomew
and made famous by Antoine "Fats"
Domino, a childhood favourite
of Steven Georgious.
was the king of pre-Elvis rock and is still
going strong to this day. Smiley Lewis recorded
the song exquisitely too, three years before
Fats' version, in 54. Favoured by Cat
during his Majikat concerts in the mid 70s
- Cat has only recently officially released
the song on the Cat Stevens box set.
Legendary Fats Domino
CAT STEVENS SONGS BY OTHER ARTISTS
GET YOUR HEAD SCREWED ON
first producer, Mike Hurst, produced a fine
version of this song with the Deram band Double
Feature. It has an almost psychedelic
feel with soulful vocals and cello. Well worth
has been covered in recent years by 70s
of the '70's Melanie sings the Bitterblue's
Lewis released the song as a
smouldering single, produced by its writer.
She was a successful solo artist and provided
backing vocals for Cat, notably on "How
Can I Tell You" and "Angelsea."
She also supported Cat on tour.
Lewis covers Cat
CANT KEEP IT IN
Kari Fall released the song
as "En Pidaattaa
jubilant New Seekers
released this on album. Santana
and Martyn Kaye
issued it on 7" platters to an unappreciative
FATHER & SON
hard to believe that this song has been around
for over 30 years. In recent times, UK boy
band Boyzone had
a massive hit with it. The most recent cover
has been by the delightfully named Me
First & The Gimme Gimmes.
They released it with "Wild World"
on the flip side and affectionately
entitled their single "Stevens".
The picture cover features a concert photo
of a youthful Ravi Shankar
and colleagues. The song lends itself more
to the style of late 70s new-wave
"power-pop". Not a single sitar
and Boyzone, proudly displaying their Life
Of The Last Prophet CDs
Other paternal celebrities whove seen the
worth of the song include: Berni
Flint, Johnny Cash & Rosey
Nix the father and daughter
team called it just that. They handled the
sentiment impeccably. Richie Havens
recorded it as "Fathers & Sons".
Sandie Shaw released
it as a single in 72 from a "mother
and daughter" perspective. Production
was by Herbie Flowers,
of Blue Mink and the bassist on Cats
"How Many Times". Theres quite
a strong rumour that The Smiths
recorded a version too, as both Morrisey &
Marr were huge Sandie Shaw fans although
this was said to have got no further than
rehearsals. The Barron Knights,
the 60s comedy band that used
to send up pop hits of the era, sang it straight
using Cats trick of having two
different pitched voices
bad hair day for the Barron Knights!
Rondstadtrecorded this in country
style with banjo accompaniment, as a guest
on Cats ABC Moon & Star concert
Rondstadt belts out Cat on 'ABC In Concert'
FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST
Consistently good cover versions
abound for "The First Cut Is The Deepest".
Cats song sat modestly on his second
Deram album. Andrew Loog Oldham, Rolling Stones
manager and Immediate label boss, liked the
song and passed it to P.P. Arnold.
Pat was the petite American ex-Ikette with
huge voice. She sang on some classic tracks
such as "Tin Soldier" by The Small
Faces. She had her debut top 20 chart success
with the song - which was also produced by
Cats first producer, Mike Hurst. The
combination of Pats breathtaking vocal
and Small Faces Ian MacLagans
piano work, makes this the finest Cat cover
moment. A true 60s pop classic.
The Koobas (formerly
Kubas), handled the song in a very raw manner.Rod Stewarttook the
song to number 1. The 60s band
Love Affair, fronted
by Steve Ellis, also cut a version. The Dutch
band called Danish Lost &
Found, Keith Hampshire,
David Essex, Gene Pitney, I-Roy,
(with a reggae version) and Martin
Simpson, all had a bash at it.
Terence Trent DArby
confined his recording of the song to a concert
video. Theres a very dubious handling
of the song on a CD by The Sweet!
Linda Rondstadt sang it as her
second Cat song, on the ABC Moon & Star
Arnold - small in stature but huge voice and
HARD HEADED WOMAN
talented Island artist, Mike Harrison,
recorded a cover of this after disbanding
Spooky Tooth to pursue a solo career.
COMES MY BABY
swinging London during 66, Cat
wrote the bitter-sweet "Here Comes My
Baby". The Tremeloes
had a ball on their number 4 hit version,
prior to Cats release. It was almost
Cats first single, but "I Love
My Dog" was thought to be stronger and it couldnt
fail although on both songs you only
have to hear the melody once and youre
humming them for the rest of your life! Cats
jazzy original of "Baby" sounded
sombre by comparison to the Trems cut
with their whistling and jollity. Their
live take in cabaret was hysterical; when
they sang the line " I try to call
you names", they inserted the phrase
Joe Loss & His Orchestra
released it the same year as a "Quick-step"
along with other 67 hits, sanitised
as dance arrangements. The veteran Phil Spector
- produced band, Bob B. Soxx &
The Blue Jeans did a version
too. During the 70s, new-wave
bands such as The Jags and
The Smith (not the
plural, with no relation to the Morrisey &
Marr band) picked up on the merits of the
song with their jerky treatment. Dottie
West and later, The
Mavericks issued country arrangements.
Fashion note: Chesneys dad Chip Hawkes, sports
fetching polo neck and military jacket
cabaret Tremeloes prove that bad hair and
appalling dress sense are de rigueur for Cat
Unfocussed Mavericks cover
This song was never officially
released until the 4 CD box set release by
Cat in 2001! Elton John &
Cat Stevens first recorded it
in 70, but record company politics prevented
its release then. Two cover versions did get
released as singles to a complacent record-buying
public the first by Sweet
Salvation in 70 and then
by Brotherly Love
in 72. Cat had co-written the song with
his friend Ken Cumberbatch, who had contributed
the piano-based riff.
CAN I TELL YOU
sensitively by Herb Alperts Mrs. -
Lani Hall in 72, on her
debut album. Prior to this, she was lead singer
with Brazil 66 for almost six years.
Mrs. Alpert photographed by Mr. Alpert in
Trent issued this early Cat
song, about the demise of a young girl, as
a single in March 67.
LOVE MY DOG
Cat models expensive Hush Puppies
Theres some canine
affection by way of cover versions for Cats
first single, "I Love My Dog". One
Carolyn Hester has
recorded the tune. Theo Bikel,
folk singer, theatre, film and television
actor, radio presenter, political activist,
Jewish spokesperson and guest murderer on
Columbo, also lays claim to covering the song.
Funky soul diva, Sweet Linda Divine
(Linda Tillery), recorded her
version in 69 on her self-titled album.
Mike Batt, famous
for those furry childrens TV characters, The
Wombles, recorded a version
too. In fact, he produced, arranged and conducted
a whole album worth of Cat covers in 71.
He also pilfered the back catalogues of The
Rolling Stones, Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel,
Bob Dylan and George Harrison in his "Portrait
Of " series of budget priced instrumental
lps. Only for the most dedicated Cat
American singer/entertainer Theo Bikel surprisingly
covered the song
I LOVE THEM ALL
Brough was once married to Cats
60s co-manager, Chris Brough.
She presented a childrens TV pop show
called "Lift Off With Ayshea". Shed
introduce hit-makers of the time and also
had her own singing slot. She made several
singles and a couple of albums. Her version
of "I Love Them All" is poppy and
sweet, with some giggles at the end!
Ayshea, as photographed by David Bailey
IVE FOUND A LOVE
trained Liverpudlian, David Garrick
recorded this song with Cats arranger/conductor
Alan Tew. It deviates only very slightly from
Cats original arrangement.
photogenic Philip Darryl Core, aka David Garrick
67, everyone who was anyone wanted to
dip into Cats box of songs. Wayne
Thomas recorded Lady as "Ive
Never Known A Lady" in April 67.
Dave Walton was
another contender in the same year.
Theres an overstated
gothic version by the cult band And
Also The Trees. One Reg
Dwight, aka Elton John
recorded the song during his pre-fame days.
He recorded anonymous sessions just prior
to hitting the big time his work ca
n be found on a number of budget priced "Hits"
lps. The record sleeves tried to entice
buyers with pictures of scantily clad women,
plus the challenge "can you tell
the difference between these cover versions
and the original artists?" Usually in
very small print!
Italian 1964 Eurovision Song Contest winner
- released an Italian language version of
"Oh Lady DArbanville".
Gigliola Cinquetti says "ciao" to Patti
first known cover of the song was by Mike
Vickers (of Manfred Mann)-
on his solo album in 67, entitled "I
Wish I Were A Group Again". He was also
Cats musical director on his last couple
of Deram 45 sides. Some obscure artists have
also covered the song. It was recorded in
82 by a band called Hey
You. 60s producer
Miki Dallon recorded a version with a band
called Apollo 100
in the same year. Another cover
exists by The Cuban Heels!
The popular 60s band Dave
Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich,
recorded the song too.
recorded this track with additional lyrics
by Ben Shepherd. They tagged on quips like
"Ive got no songs in my heart
theyve all gone away."
Haters self-titled CD release from
Cat was flattered to hear
that "Moonshadow" was re-worked
into a lengthy soul version by
Labelle. Their live 9:24 minute
cut was recorded live at the Record Plant
in L.A. and included on their "Moonshadow"
album. Cat went to see them in concert to
check out their performance of his song. British
Whittaker whistled his way through
the song too!
Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx & Sarah
Dash as photographed on the cover of
their "Moon Shadow" album
Whittaker whistles "Moonshadow"
and loves dogs too
The song depicts Gods
creation - life, awakening and growth are
celebrated in its verses. Probably the best-known
cover version of this song was by the Cat
himself! It was originally a poem by
The lovely Eleanor was a writer of tales and
light verses for young children. She was commissioned
to write "Morning Has Broken" for
Songs Of Praise editor Percy Dearmer
to an old melody. She was paid Three Guineas
for it (£3.15/$4.50)! The tune came from a
Gaelic melody from the 1880s, called
"Bunessen". It had first been used
on a Christmas Carol. On numerous post 1971
vinyl releases, credits range from; Stevens/Farjeon,
Stevens/Trad. Arr., or Trad. Arr./Farjeon.
"Traditional Arrangement" usually
means borrowed/stolen! Cat certainly was responsible
for its arrangement but the tune and words
are from someone else. Hed never heard
of the song when he discovered it while flicking
through a hymn-book in a London bookshop!
Alun Davies, his guitarist, recognised it
from morning assembly at school. Rick Wakeman,
majestically caressed the ivories on Cats
"hit hymn". The single was released
in earnest and not a gimmick, coming from
someone set on a spiritual search. Maybe Cat
was impressed with Judy Collins update
of "Amazing Grace", issued a little
earlier. Judy Collins
herself has covered "Morning Has Broken"!
this day, people would not be requesting the
song at weddings and funerals if not for Cats
version. It reintroduced the song to the Christian
and agnostic masses. Out of Cats entire
repertoire, its the one that has attracted
the most cover versions. Its also the
one possibly most played on the radio, largely
on Sunday mornings.
Another contender was Mike
Sedgwick. His version gallops
along with harpsichord and determined vocals.
He was once a member of George Mitchells
Singers and had honed a recording career alongside
60s novelty releases from singing
nuns, postmen and three legged men. As a presenter
on the Five To Ten Show on BBC radio, hed
play devout popular hits every day. The
New Seekers, released the song
in typically twee fashion. Irish singer Dana,
who won the Eurovision song contest in 70
with "All Kinds Of Everything",
interpreted the song when her career blossomed.
Ex-Goon and religious TV presenter, the late
Sir Harry Secombe
released it with hearty operatic tones. As
kids in England, we always hoped hed
lapse into his Neddy Seagoon guise and blow
a raspberry during his "serious singing" on TV - it wouldve
helped! Actor turned singer, Edward
Woodward TVs "The
Equaliser", gave it similar treatment.
A falsetto rendition came from the Welsh schoolboy,
Aled Jones. The
Beverley Sisters, one of Britains
most famous sister acts, absolutely adored
the song. They sang it regularly on TVs
Stars On Sunday programme and also committed
it to vinyl. In 92, Neil
Diamond covered the song as
a single release (produced by Peter Asher)
with a vocal choir, lifted from his Christmas
album. You can imagine him singing it by the
Christmas tree, seated in a rocking chair,
roasting chestnuts on a huge log fire! Vinyl
releases are abundant by ten thousand grizzly
elderly gentlemen with the sweetest voices,
with Cat aspirations - sung by male voice
choirs the world over!
The New Seekers another
70s fashion statement, the decade
that taste forgot!
The above is just the tip
of the iceberg, completists should look out
for the following "Morning Has Broken"
cover artists at their next charity shop or
flea market excursion; Tommy Darky,
Valerie Dunbar, Mary OHara, The King
Singers, Val Doonican, Acker Bilk, Roger Whittaker,
Bert Weedon, Kenneth McKeller, Ralph McTell,
Mark Robson, Jimmy Shand Jnr., Ann Williamson,
Harold Winkler, Nana Mouskouri, Art Garfunkel,
not to mention a Moog Syn
thesizer version by The
Elektronic Cokonut and
theres even more! The most recent version
is by the stellar Celtic band, The
Chieftans (also aided by Art
Garfunkel and Diane Krall). Their chilling
version was recorded on an Antarctic cruise
with the seals and penguins of Deception Island
"Teaser & The Firecat", "Morning
Has Broken" nestled unusually between
"Tuesdays Dead" and "Bitterblue".
It was so refreshing and remains timeless
by Cat Stevens, the song is now an institution and
if you own just a fraction of the above releases
you should be living in one!
delicate cheep of the young Aled Jones
Maniacs released the song to
the masses as a single and on their "In
My Tribe" album in 87. Peter Asher
recording with Natalie Merchants
strikingly evocative vocals. Dolly
Parton also had a soft spot
for the song and its sentiments. Her rendition
was recorded with the South African group
Ladysmith Black Mambazo. All
manner of "Holy Roller" mixes and
radio edits of the song were issued on the
CD single. Yusuf supported their version with
an interview that was run on a TV show that
featured Dollys favourite songs, called
Hammond, the soul-jazz organist,
also issued the song on album. Richie
Havens covered it too which
was featured in an episode of TV's "The
Wonder Years". He was very much
a covers artist, his soulful renditions added
a whole new dimension to other artists
rock, folk and country tunes. A fine example
is his cover of George Harrisons "Here
Comes The Sun".
The moon and star-studded 10,000 Maniacs
Louisiana high priest of "Gris Gris"
music, Dr. John
guested with Linda Rondstadt on the ABC Moon
& Star concert in 73. The song was
largely re-worked into his unique mystical
The good Dr. from all that remains on a bad video
right hand man, Alun Davies
recorded the song on his solo album - produced
by Cat and Paul Samwell-Smith. Its a
gem - with nice banjo by Charlie Gaisford.
THE DAYS OF) THE OLD SCHOOLYARD
Lewis had a minor hit with the
song in 74. Like her version of "Bonfire",
it doesnt differ greatly in arrangement.
vocalists seem to like this song. Once covered
by Angels Of Venice. Marianne
Faithful recorded a version.
who as a teenager used to shut herself in
her bedroom listening to Cats music,
also favours the song.
committed officially to CD or vinyl
both Pearl Jam and
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
have used this song in concert! Kristin
Hersh, from the Indie band Throwing
Muses, tackled the song on her
solo CD "Sunny Border Blue". A poignant,
minimalist version Kristin exorcised
some of her personal mental health demons
using Cats fine song.
DOG A DOUGHNUT
released a hypnotic version on the rear of
his version of the Madonna song, "Sidewalk
Talk", the writer credits going to Yusuf
Scott (who?) recorded this on
the b-side of his single called "Smiley"
- a couple of years after Cats release.
Obscure, but not essential!
DO THE CHILDREN PLAY
Jakoma and Leona
Daly recorded this as a fundraiser
for the Childrens Hour charity. Tim
Russ, who plays the Vulkan in
Star Trek Voyager, has recorded "Where
Do The Children Play". He issued a CD
of his own original songs and a few favourites.
Horace Andy, a highly
rated Jamaican ska/reggae artist, recorded
the song with some amended Kingston Town lyrics.
More recently recorded by Big
Alpert puckered up for this
instrumental quasi-Latin rhythm and re-titled
it "Whistle Song". Possibly approved
by Cat through his US association with Alpert
& Moss (Trivia note: A&M Records
founders - they had developed their famed
record label from Herb Alperts converted
garage! Not unlike the UK Island Records equivalent,
where Chris Blackwell would sell discs from
the boot of his Mini Cooper!)
"Wild World" is an interesting one.
Cat said that at the songs induction
that it was "just another song, in with
all the others." It was a big hit for
him in the US. At its outset in England, it
was given to Chris Simmons.
His was a polite but
unexciting interpretation, which sounded more
like one of those cheap "sound-alike"
albums. Jimmy Cliff,
on the other hand, understood the song perfectly.
Jimmy and Cat got together a small band, which
included Doris Troy on backing vocals. Cat
played piano and produced it quickly and simply.
The song's spirited vocals and spontaneity
ensured a top 10 hit quite different
from Cats strummed version.
Priest continued the reggae
tradition with his "long and saxy"
version of the song. Recorded also by; Mr.
Big, Tito Simon, Steve Young andSacre Bleu, Sacha
Cliff and Cat Stevens Wild World
The Pet Shop
Boys were accused of plagiarising
the song when their single "Its
A Sin" was released. Strongly denied
by Messrs Tennant & Lowe, Cat was flattered
whether it was a coincidence or not. Jonathan
King engineered the controversy in his tabloid
newspaper column and The Pet Shop Boys tried
to sue him. King courted publicity further
- capitalising on both versions merged into
one with his own single, "Wild World/Ways
To Be Wicked". Both the interpretation
and sleeve illustration by the ex-celebrity
are totally bizarre!
X-rated cover art-work
recorded the song too in 71, on his
"That The Spirit Needs" album. Coincidentally,
this had an equally strange gatefold cover
painting, later withdrawn and replaced with
appropriate image! Josés album contained
a few originals with Cats tune and a
couple of Elton John/Bernie Taupin numbers.
The most recent and radical
version of the song is by an unsigned, independent
US Rap artist - E-Real
of Cleveland, Ohio. He uses the lyrics of
the song in what most Cat fans would probably
view as a taboo medium. The song is refreshing,
however. It brings Cats legacy right
up to date and makes his words accessible
to a totally different audience from
the CD entitled "In My Mind", which
is highly recommended.
Great sounds from Rap artist E-RealTHE WIND
exquisite version of "The Wind"
appears on Mary Hopkins
"Earth Song, Ocean Song" album,
with a string quartet. The song turned full
circle when Yusuf Islam covered it too!
McCartneys protégé, Mary Hopkin - listens
to "The Wind"
CAT STEVENS SONGS RECORDED BY OTHER
ARTISTS BUT NEVER BY CAT
finish off, some Cat Stevens songs only issued
by other artists. These are for the Cat completist
and are extremely hard to track down:
- MIKE STUART SPAN
early rudimentary Cat song, released in June
67.The gifted Brighton-based psychedelic
band had little success and later became Leviathan.
EMI dropped the band after the Cat cover flopped.
GONE GONE - CHRIS SIMMONS
Howard, Blaikley, Cat Stevens number, produced
by Mike Leander on the poppy b-side of "Soraya",
in 69. Another flop, the obscure Cat
collaboration is likely to contain some of
Cats words and melody. Its opening
line is "When I was a child, everything
was crystal clear " which is typical
of Cats outlook. As mentioned earlier,
Simmons had released the earliest known cover
of "Wild World", just before Jimmy
IT OUT OF SIGHT - PAUL & BARRY RYAN
identical twin sons of 50s singer,
Marion Ryan, released the song in February
67. It was a hit achieving a number
30 UK chart placing. The Ryan
brothers had been given some
dreadful songs to cover previously - fortunately
this was not one of them. Its a great
piece of pop in the same style as "Matthew
Marion Ryan's twins - Paul & Barry on
their debut l.p in '67
AT NIGHT - PETER & GORDON
obscure US only album "In London For
Tea", by the "British Invasion"
duo of Peter Asher and Gordon
Waller contained the
very pleasing sounding "London At Night".
This was a "lost" Cat song, never
etched onto vinyl by its composer. It was
written about searching for love in the beautiful
There are two other Peter &
Gordonsongs with a "Stevens"
credit. "Brown, Black and Gold"
(Lease/Stevens) & "Sally Go Round
The Roses" (Sanders/Stevens). No Cat
connection is likely on these - the former
was a US R&B hit, previously recorded
by the Jaynettes and produced by Phil Spector.
Brits invade with Peter Asher & Gordon
- MILTON NASCIMENTO
co-written Nascimento/Stevens track appeared
on Milton NascimentosCD/album "Yauaretê" in
87. The spiritual song is sung jointly
in English and Brazilian.
Nascimento gig at the London Royal Alberet
Hall in '96
PLAY A B SIDE - SASHA CARO
Caro(real name: Caro Minas)
was one of two artists that Cat had produced
and supported during 67 and 68.
The other was Peter Janes.
"Never Play A B-Side" was the novelty
flip of "Molotov Molotov". Cat is
featured on the a-side and "introduces"
the song with a Russian accent! The Cat-written
b-side is an off the cuff piece of humorous
Stevens (left) Sasha Caro (right)
RU RU - CHICO BATERA
Bateras name may sound
familiar to Cat fans as he was the percussionist
on Cats "Numbers" album. He
also toured with Cat during the mid 70s
which is how this collaboration came about.
It was co-written with Gilberto Gil and was
released in Brazil only, both as a single
and on the compilation album "Cuca Legal".
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