Top 10 Cat Stevens Songs

Cat Stevens Songs

Photo: By A&M Records (Billboard, page 35, 22 April 1972) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1970s, Cat Stevens Songs filled the airwaves consistently while developing a loyal fan following along with his mass cultural acceptance. Not many artists capture both types of audiences. Only artists like the Beatles, Elton John and Billy Joel gained mass popularity while garnering a cult audience. The reason for such acceptance was those artist’s ability to write music universally that can relate to all lives. Yet, the brilliance of Cat Stevens songs was that his music seemed to be also written on a personal level that touched everyone’s individual lives.

Cat Stevens songs went far beyond just romantic love. During the turmoil of the Vietnam era, Cat Steven’s songs touched on the concepts of peace and spirit with a much more tender voice than that of political artists like Bob Dylan or The Jefferson Airplane.  His music often reflected the meaning of his life and embodied the ambitions and dreams of millions. He wanted those who listened to search within themselves and find their own truth.

Recovering from tuberculosis in the late 1960s caused Cat Stevens to reflect upon the meaning of his life. The disease gave him a new perspective on the world. His music became more intuitive and subtle as he began to explore his own spiritual journey. He signed with Island Records in 1970 with the production of his first United States album, Mona Bone Jakon. Six months later, Tea for the Tillerman, which contained songs “Matthew and Son,” Where do the Children Play, and “Miles From Nowhere” was released, elevating Cat into stardom. Chris Blackwell, the boss of Island Records, described the album as the “best album we have ever released.”

Cat Stevens recorded and released albums from 1967 until 1978. In 1977, Cat Stevens converted to Islam and ended his popular music recording career at the time. In 2006, Cat Stevens began releasing records again under his Islamic name Yusuf. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. This list of 10 Essential Cat Stevens songs barely touches the surface of his music. His albums were deep and full of substance. However, we have attempted to choose some that define the milestones in his career and fan favorites.

# 10 – The First Cut Is The Deepest

Many people associate this great Cat Stevens song with Rod Stewart. Released on the 1976 Night On The Town album, Rod Stewart slowed the groove down and had a major hit with the song twice as he also released it again on his Unplugged album in 1993. Close to twenty years later, Sheryl Crow recorded a wonderful version of the song on her album Sheryl Crow in 2003. We start our Top 10 Essential Cat Stevens songs list with this song because it defines the art of songwriting and the lasting power of a great song. In the old days, we called them “standards.”

# 9 – Father and Son

Cat Stevens trademark sound was established with the Tea For the Tillerman album.  His vocal range allowed the expression of a broad spectrum of situations and characters. His greatest example was “Father and Son,” where he sang both baritone and tenor with equal authority. In the 70s, when I was a teen, I often listened, imagining myself as the son. Now, 40 years later, I find myself in the position of the father. Poetic justice at its finest.

# 8 – Moonshadow

In 1971, his fifth album, Teaser and the Firecat was released, hitting the charts at Number 2. Within three weeks of the album’s release, the record went gold. The album featured ten beautiful tracks including “Moonshadow,” Morning Has Broken,” and “Peace Train.” He wrote the lyrics to “Moonshadow” while in Spain, frolicking on the beach in the moonlight. How many of us have played on the sand at dusk and often felt our own Moonshadow?

# 7 – On The Road To Find Out

His songs often reflected on the listener’s emotions and their own experiences. Many listened and thought his songs were meant specifically for them. His classics, like “Wild World,” “Into White,” and “On the Road to Find Out” are all centered on seeking purpose. Many artists were moving from theatrics to finding inner purpose during this time, from Joni Mitchell to Carole King, yet Cat Stevens was thought of as one of the most spiritually determined.

# 6 – Peace Train

With the baby boomers aging, many find that Cat Stevens’ songs are as relevant today as they were in the 1970s. “Peace Train” is one of those Cat Stevens songs that defined his brilliance in writing music that will be relevant generation after generation. There will always be wars, and there will always be protests. “Peace Train” has become one of Cat Stevens‘ most popular covered songs. Natalie Merchant recorded a very poignant version of the song in 1987. Dolly Parton recorded the song in 1996, and Jane Arden did a spellbinding version of the song in 2007.

# 5 – Where Do The Children Play

“Where Do The Children Play”  was written in response to pollution issues in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The song was the opening track to Cat Stevens masterful album Tea for the Tillerman. Cat Stevens would re-record the song with Dolly Parton on her 2005 album Those Were The Days. It was a wonderful recording because Cat Stevens had long been out of the public eye within the music business for many years. It previewed his eventual return to the music business a year later with the release of his first album in 28 years entitled An Other Cup. The song’s meaning and depth were also recaptured by the passionate vocals and playing of the alternative band Garbage just recently on the benefit album Music To Inspire: Artists United Against Human Trafficking.

#4 – Oh Very Young

The great Cat Stevens song “Oh Very Young” proved to be one of the biggest hits of Cat Stevens’s career. The song was released on the album Buddha and the Chocolate Box in 1974. One could not walk into a record store in 1974 and 1975 without seeing that album prominently displayed on the record racks. Everyone brought that record.  The song opens with a beautiful acoustic piano, a Fender Rhodes electric piano, and Cat Stevens’ signature guitar sound. The opening twisting line beautifully transcends into a melody of hope and concerns. The female backing vocals add an angelic quality that lifted Cat Stevens vocals into an arena that few songwriters visit. Simply a magical piece of music.

# 3 –  The Wind

“The Wind” examines faith and spirituality and is one of the shortest Cat Stevens Songs ever released, running at 1:42. The lyric “I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul. Where I’ll end up, well I think only God really knows,” is still relevant. The 1960s and 1970s were a philosophical time of soul-searching and finding purpose. Everyone has their favorite Cat Stevens song, but “The Wind” was one of those songs that touched everyone deeply. The song The Wind was released on Cat Stevens’ 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat.

# 2 – Wild World

“Wild World” speaks of peace and happiness in a crazed world. When it was written, the “wild” was drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Today, the world is still wild and crazy. Drugs are rampant. Racial tension is as high as it was in the 60s. Political unrest is still prevalent. “It’s hard to get by just upon a smile” takes on new meaning. Back then, a smile might get you out of a speeding ticket. Today, it may cause a bit of trouble.

# 1 – Morning Has Broken

One does not have to compose a song to make it their own. Frank Sinatra made a career out of making other people’s songs his own. So yes we know Cat Stevens did not compose “Morning Has Broken,” But it doesn’t matter because Cat Stevens owned this one.

When most artists begin their careers, their main goal is to release somehow a song or an album that will become a big enough hit, or sell enough records that will allow them to get another shot at recording their second album. Achieving a top 10 single will usually set the way for an artist to enjoy a long career just on the success of one song. Yes, there have been one-hit wonders, but even those artists have had the opportunity to continue to perform just based on their hit single.

Moving beyond the success of the one-hit single are the artists that enjoy long careers releasing hit after hit, album after album. Most are hoping to achieve at least a five-year run. The Holy Grail of songwriting is the release of a song that becomes bigger than the artist themselves. It rarely happens. We are not talking the mega-hit single concept, but rather the song that becomes ingrained in culture. Cat Stevens song “Morning Has Broken,” is one of those songs that became bigger than the songwriter or artist that performed the song.  The song became ingrained in mass culture on many different levels. Its deep meaning, friendly folk melody, and deep inspiration lyric achieved everything that Cat Stevens seemed to believe in. It was Cat Stevens’ masterpiece.

Updated November 28, 2023

Top 10 Cat Stevens Songs article published on Classic© 2023 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain Creative Commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Protection Status


  1. Avatar Wayne R Neverka March 11, 2020
  2. Avatar Donna Pursley March 13, 2020
  3. Avatar M A Howe May 7, 2020
  4. Avatar R. Kelley May 8, 2020

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Haunting Songs In Rock Music
10 Most Haunting Songs In Rock Music
David Foster Songs
Top 10 David Foster Songs
Bruce Springsteen Songs
Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs Loved By His Older Fans
Steppenwolf Songs
Top 10 Steppenwolf Songs
Stevie Nicks Albums
Top 10 Stevie Nicks Albums
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Our Ten Most Listened To Albums Of All Time
Thin Lizzy Albums
Top 10 Thin Lizzy Albums
Sinead O’Connor Songs
10 Sinéad O’Connor Songs We Love The Most
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2024 Tribute Concert Review
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch's Role in Fleetwood Mac
The Forgotten Pioneer: Bob Welch’s Role in Fleetwood Mac
Billy Joel's new single
Billy Joel To Release Brand New Song On February 1st 2024
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Heart Plays First Concert In Almost Five Years
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Tim Lefebvre: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner Interview
Jeff Pilson of Foreigner: The Interview
Rival Sons Interview
Scott Holiday of Rival Sons: The Interview
Scott Ward Interview
Scott Ward: The Interview
Michael Jackson Albums
Complete List Of Michael Jackson Albums And Discography
Metallica Albums Discography
Complete List Of Metallica Albums And Songs Discography
Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Complete List Of Allman Brothers Band Albums And Songs
Pretty Things Albums
Complete List Of Pretty Things Albums And Discography
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums
Complete List Of Led Zeppelin Compilation Albums And Songs
Foghat Night Shift Album Review
Why We Loved Foghat’s Night Shift Album
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Return of the Dream Canteen Album Review
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return Of The Dream Canteen Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review