Cat Stevens
English Singer-Songwriter
Cat Stevens
Yusuf Islam, commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, philanthropist, and prominent convert to Islam. His early 1970s record albums Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat were both certified triple platinum in the United States by the RIAA.
Biography
Cat Stevens's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Cat Stevens from around the web
On the Culture Front: Music from the Underground, Part 8
Huffington Post - about 1 month
Photo courtesy of Wicklow Atwater Listening to Wicklow Atwater is a pure adrenaline rush, like having a chair smashed over your head during a bar fight. It's brash, hard-hitting and not the least bit subtle. None of these are criticisms though as it's a lot of fun to tap into so much pure Id. The seventeen tracks of "The Fallen Flame String Band" are a quick listen propelled by the momentum of furiously picked banjo and mandolin riffs. The most tuneful one is the backbone of "Sleeping Through", which is set to a relatively slower tempo and features a bit of self-examination. "Minimum Wage" is a more apt example of the group's blunt lyricism. "Your boss is a jerk. Your boss is a slob, but you're too scared to quit your job" is bellowed with breakneck pacing. The heart of the song though is the line "getting paid minimum wage is a system that we can't beat." Other songs like "Inside You" hit a crasser tone with lines like "I don't love you. I don't need you. I just want to be inside ...
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Huffington Post article
Yusuf / Cat Stevens Lovingly Remakes His Very First Song For Third Man Records
NPR - 3 months
While in Nashville, Yusuf / Cat Stevens was asked by Jack White's Third Man Records to do something special. The result is this remake of a song released 50 years ago, "I Love My Dog."
Article Link:
NPR article
How To Be Wisely Vulnerable: When To 'Feel' And When To Avoid
Huffington Post - 4 months
I recently broke things off with a guy because I felt too vulnerable. I hadn’t experienced “those kind” of feelings for someone in ages, and it left me paralyzingly uncomfortable. Now look, a shit-ton of anxiety is a natural symptom of falling for someone, and feeling vulnerable in relationships is necessary; however this felt extreme. I tried to sit with the discomfort and “be cool,” chalking my distrust up to past betrayals or attachment issues. But something wasn’t right. My spidey-sense kept going OFF, so I honored my intuition and called it quits. Initially, I felt shame for doing this: as someone who preaches vulnerability and opening up to uncomfortable feelings, I felt like a hypocrite. But when a week later he “came clean” and revealed he was not only engaged(!!!), but he’d been playing another girl the whole time as well (#newyorkdating), I felt pretty fucking pleased with my decision. So how do we know when to flex our “emotional tolerance muscles,” opening up to vul ...
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Huffington Post article
Yusuf/Cat Stevens marks 50th anniversary at Pantages
LATimes - 5 months
Perhaps it’s relatively easy to put on a show as thoroughly engaging, and emotionally and spiritually rich, as the one Yusuf, the former Cat Stevens, pulled off Thursday at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Just write a couple of dozen eminently catchy pop songs and combine them with a life story...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Yusuf/Cat Stevens marks 50th anniversary at Pantages
LATimes - 5 months
Perhaps it’s relatively easy to put on a show as thoroughly engaging, and emotionally and spiritually rich, as the one Yusuf, the former Cat Stevens, pulled off Thursday at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Just write a couple of dozen eminently catchy pop songs and combine them with a life story...
Article Link:
LATimes article
I'm With Stupid: The Auditory Purgatory Of America, Chicago And Bread
Huffington Post - 5 months
I've always considered myself a bit of a music nerd, and as I may have mentioned before, I have what I call a phonographic memory -- meaning I can remember the words to every song I've ever heard but somehow I won't remember your name the first six times I'm reintroduced to you. In some ways, it's great. For instance, I like to sing along with the radio when I'm driving, so it's nice not to fumble over the lyrics and look like an idiot when other people are in the car with me. In other ways, though, it can be a pain in the ass, and I was reminded of that recently when I started working an almost full-time job in an office near my home. How near? The other day, I got on my bike and got a good push out of my driveway and coasted to work without pedaling once. Honestly. But that's not the point. The point is, the office, which we share with a couple of other small businesses, has music playing over the in-ceiling speakers in the hallways all the time. No big deal, right? It eve ...
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Huffington Post article
Yusuf to Play Shows in New York on ‘A Cat’s Attic’ Tour
NYTimes - 7 months
The singer-songwriter best known as Cat Stevens is playing what his representatives call his first public concerts in New York in four decades.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
'Alliance of Virtue (or Get Your Bags Together)'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
As we settle down into the grip of another New Year, the past slips further away into obscurity and I am soberly having to grapple with the fact that many youngsters' ears have never even heard the Beatles song, "Yesterday." It's an ominous sign of age creeping up and tapping you on the shoulder like a policeman halting you for driving too fast, dangling a rusty bucket in hand and reminding you of your own inescapable mortality. If that's the case, how much hope can we bank on to imagine they would know that there once really was a guy called Cat Stevens who dreamed of transporting his generation to a better world with a song called "Peace Train"? The chance of these young'uns ever hearing anything more about this old "Cat" becomes even more remote when you realize that he decided to embrace Islam and become a Muslim in 1977, almost 40 years ago, when none of these kids (and some of their parents) were even born. The next major ponderable impossibility would be for them -- as ...
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Huffington Post article
The Top 100 Most Punny and Funny Cat Names
Huffington Post - about 1 year
This article was originally published on Cat Names City Cats are the heart and soul of internet humor and you might be forgiven for thinking that the internet was created primarily as a place to share funny pictures of cats. Whether you are just looking for a laugh or searching for funny cat names for a newly adopted kitten, this list of 100 punny and funny cat names is sure to put a smile on your face and help you to find the perfect goofy name for your lovable feline. Cats give us so much joy and laughter so why not select funny cat names which will capture the personality of our kitten? Here are 100 wacky, geeky, bizarre, unique, silly, punny and hilarious names for funny felines. Funny Female Cat Names 1. Ali Cat 2. Ali McClaw 3. Angelicat 4. Cat Benatar 5. Catalie Portman 6. Catsy Cline 7. Chairwoman Miao 8. Cindy Clawford 9. Clawdia 10. Demi Meower 11. Empress 12. Fleas Witherspoon 13. Halley Purry 14. Hello Kitty 15. Isabe ...
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Huffington Post article
Boys In/Songs From The Trees: Carly Simon Shares Secrets, Plus Chapell, Cameron Dezen Hammon, Daiana Solange Segovia, Nick Urb and Marcus King Exclusives
Huffington Post - about 1 year
CARLY SIMON RELEASES AUTOBIOGRAPHY & COMPANION ANTHOLOGY On the title track of her classic album No Secrets, Carly Simon sings, “Sometimes I wish that I never knew some of those secrets of yours.” With the release of her autobiography Boys In The Trees: A Memoir, Simon surrenders so many secrets that one might find him or herself reiterating that same sentiment. But most everyone will be enthralled by the frankness and often salacious recollections shared in Boys In The Trees with its reams of prose and cons. For those still not satiated, there is also a musical companion piece, the double-disc Songs From The Trees anthology, that offers two previously unreleased songs, making this a particularly memorable season of giving from Carly Simon to her fans and beyond. Simon's 384-pager Boys In The Trees—as in “let the boys grow in the trees,” lyric and title taken from her 7th solo album—overflows with information and never slows down. Early on, it introduces us to parents Richa ...
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Huffington Post article
Daily Meditation: On The Road
Huffington Post - over 1 year
We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life. Today's post features a song by folk musician Yusuf Islam, formerly known at Cat Stevens. "Miles From Nowhere" invokes the weariness of a long journey, while reminding us that freedom is the ultimate destination. Miles From Nowhere by Cat Stevens Miles from nowhere I guess I'll take my time Oh yeah, to reach there Look up at the mountain I have to climb Oh yeah, to reach there. Lord my body has been a good friend But I won't need it when I reach the end Miles from nowhere Guess I'll take my time Oh yeah, to reach there I creep through the valleys And I grope through the woods 'cause I know when I find it my honey It's gonna make me feel good I love everything So don't it make you feel sad 'cause I'll drink to you, my baby I'll think to that, I'll think to th ...
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Huffington Post article
Honoring My Father: The Immigrant, the Union Activist
Huffington Post - over 1 year
In 1980, my family and I fled civil war in El Salvador. Though I was too young to remember, the transition was significant for my father. Against all odds, in his 20s, he had been among a handful of people selected to train in South America to become air traffic controllers. Knowing his perfectionist tendencies and his love of technology, I can imagine how much he valued this job. The move to the United States, though it made our lives more stable at the time, cut short his promising career. Working as an air traffic controller Once in Los Angeles, with my uncle's help, he took the first job he could find as a busboy in a hotel restaurant. My family was fortunate to have a place to stay, a floor to sleep on, for the better part of our first year here. When they saved enough from my dad's busser and my mom's garment factory wages, we moved into a tiny single apartment on Rampart, off of 6th street with my aunt and her family. They started off with very little. My dad, multitalen ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Cat Stevens
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 67
    His second North American tour since his resurgence, featuring 12 shows in intimate venues, began on 12 September 2016.
    More Details Hide Details Steven Georgiou, born on 21 July 1948 in the Marylebone area of London, in a Greek-Cypriot family He had an older sister, Anita (b. 1937), and a brother, David Gordon. The family lived above the Moulin Rouge, a restaurant that his parents operated on the north end of Shaftesbury Avenue which was a short walk from Piccadilly Circus in the Soho theatre district of London. All family members worked in the restaurant. His parents divorced when he was about eight years old, but they continued to maintain the family restaurant and live above it. Although his father was Greek Orthodox and his mother a Baptist, Georgiou was sent to St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School, Macklin Street, which was closer to his father's business on Drury Lane. Georgiou developed an interest in piano at a fairly young age, eventually using the family baby grand piano to work out the chords, since no one else there played well enough to teach him. Inspired by the popularity of the Beatles, at 15 he extended his interest to the guitar, persuaded his father to pay £8 for his first instrument, and began playing it and writing songs. He would escape at times from his family responsibilities to the rooftop above their home, and listen to the tunes of the musicals drifting from just around the corner from Denmark Street, which was then the centre of the British music industry.
    On 9 August 2016, Yusuf announced "A Cat's Attic Tour", his second North American tour since 1978, beginning on 12 September at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto and ending at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details The string of 12 dates roughly coincides with the 50th anniversary of his first single, I Love My Dog, and would "feature a limited run of stripped down, introspective performances." The tour would include three shows in New York City: two shows at the Beacon Theatre and one show in Central Park at the Global Citizen Festival, his first shows in New York City since 1976. In keeping with his spirit of humanitarianism, he would be donating a portion of the revenue from each ticket sale towards his charity Small Kindness, as well as UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee in an effort to assist children affected by the current Syrian refugee crisis. As Cat Stevens As Yusuf
    On 26 July 2016, Yusuf announced he would be part of the Global Citizen Festival held on 24 September 2016 in Central Park, New York, New York.
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    He performed the song live for the first time in a special charity concert, his first show in more than a year, on 14 June 2016 at the Westminster Central Hall in London.
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    On 1 June 2016, Yusuf shared a new song called "He Was Alone" and its corresponding video.
    More Details Hide Details Part of his newly launched fundraising campaign for child refugees, #YouAreNotAlone, the song was inspired by a trip to southern Turkey's camps for Syrian refugees.
  • 2015
    Age 66
    Yusuf performed two shows in early 2015: on 27 February at the Viña del Mar Festival, Quinta Vergara, Viña del Mar, Chile and on 22 April at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, area of Cardiff, Wales, UK.
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  • 2014
    Age 65
    On 4 December 2014, he played to his first public US audience since the 1970s at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia.
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    On 15 September 2014, Yusuf announced the forthcoming release on 27 October 2014 of his new studio album, Tell 'Em I'm Gone, and two short tours: a November 2014 (9-date) Europe tour and a December 2014 (6-date) North America tour, the latter being his first one since 1976.
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    He was selected and was inducted by Art Garfunkel in April 2014 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he performed "Father and Son", "Wild World", and "Peace Train".
    More Details Hide Details A record of his travel from Dubai to New York is captured in an episode of the National Geographic Channel television show Ultimate Airport Dubai (season 2, episode 6), first aired in China on 17 January 2015. In this episode he talks about his difficulty in entering the US.
  • 2013
    Age 64
    In October 2013, Yusuf was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work under the Cat Stevens name (this was his second nomination – the first being an unsuccessful nomination in 2005).
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  • 2012
    Age 63
    In May 2012, Moonshadow, a new musical featuring music from throughout his career opened at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Australia.
    More Details Hide Details The show received mixed reviews and closed four weeks early.
  • 2011
    Age 62
    On 1 April 2011, he launched a new tour website (yusufinconcert.com) to commemorate his first European tour in over 36 years scheduled from 7 May to 2 June 2011.
    More Details Hide Details The ten-date tour visited Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and cities such as Stockholm, Hamburg, Oberhausen, Berlin, Munich, Rotterdam, Paris, Mannheim, Vienna and Brussels.
    On 2 March 2011, Yusuf released his latest song, "My People", as a free download available through his official website, as well as numerous other online outlets.
    More Details Hide Details Said to have been recorded at a studio located within a hundred yards of the site of the Berlin Wall, the song is inspired by a series of popular uprisings in the Arab world, known as the Arab Spring.
  • 2010
    Age 61
    On 30 October 2010 Yusuf appeared at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's spoof Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, DC, singing alongside Ozzy Osbourne.
    More Details Hide Details Yusuf performed "Peace Train" and Ozzy performed "Crazy Train" at the same time, followed by The O'Jays performance of "Love Train".
    In June 2010 he toured Australia for the first time in 36 years, and New Zealand for the first time ever.
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  • 2009
    Age 60
    In November and December 2009, Yusuf undertook his "Guess I'll Take My Time Tour" which also showcased his musical play Moonshadow.
    More Details Hide Details The tour took him to Dublin, where he had a mixed reception; subsequently he was well received in Birmingham and Liverpool, culminating in an emotional performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
    He appeared in May 2009 at Island Records' 50th Anniversary concert in London.
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    A world tour was announced on his web site to promote the new album. He was scheduled to perform at an invitation-only concert at New York City's Highline Ballroom on 3 May 2009 and to go on to Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, as well as some to-be-announced European venues.
    More Details Hide Details However, the New York appearance was postponed due to issues regarding his work visa.
    He appeared on The Chris Isaak Hour on the A&E network in April 2009, performing live versions of his new songs, "World O'Darkness", "Boots and Sand", and "Roadsinger".
    More Details Hide Details On 13 May he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Los Angeles, and on 14 May, on The Colbert Report in New York City, performing the title song from the Roadsinger album. On 15 May, he appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, performing "Boots and Sand" and "Father and Son". On 24 May he appeared on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, where he was interviewed and performed the title track of Roadsinger. On 15 August, he was one of many guests at Fairport Convention's annual Fairport's Cropredy Convention where he performed five songs accompanied by Alun Davies, with Fairport Convention as his backing band.
    On 5 May 2009, Yusuf released Roadsinger, a new pop album recorded in 2008. The lead track, "Thinking 'Bout You", received its debut radio play on a BBC programme on 23 March 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Unlike An Other Cup, he promoted the new album with appearances on American television as well as in the UK.
    In January 2009, Yusuf released a single in aid of children in Gaza, a rendition of the George Harrison song, "The Day the World Gets Round", along with the German bassist Klaus Voorman, who had formerly collaborated with The Beatles.
    More Details Hide Details To promote the new single, Voormann redesigned his famous Beatles Revolver album cover, drawing a picture of a young Cat Stevens along with himself and Harrison. Proceeds from the single were donated to charities and organisations including UNESCO, UNRWA, and the nonprofit group Save the Children, with the funds earmarked for Gaza children. Israeli Consul David Saranga criticised Yusuf for not dedicating the song to all of the children who are victims of the conflict, including Israeli children.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2008
    Age 59
    In 2008 Yusuf contributed the song "Edge of Existence" to the charity album Songs for Survival, in support of the indigenous rights organisation Survival International.
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  • 2007
    Age 58
    He performed at the Peace One Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 21 September 2007.
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    In July 2007, he performed at a concert in Bochum, Germany, in benefit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Peace Centre in South Africa and the Milagro Foundation of Deborah and Carlos Santana.
    More Details Hide Details The audience included Nobel Laureates Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu and other prominent global figures. He later appeared as the final act in the German leg of Live Earth in Hamburg performing some classic Cat Stevens songs and more recent compositions reflecting his concern for peace and child welfare. His set included Stevie Wonder's "Saturn", "Peace Train", "Where Do the Children Play?", "Ruins", and "Wild World".
    In April 2007, BBC1 broadcast a concert given at the Porchester Hall by Islam as part of BBC Sessions, his first live performance in London in 28 years (the previous one being the UNICEF "Year of the Child" concert in 1979).
    More Details Hide Details He played several new songs along with some old ones like "Father and Son", "The Wind", "Where Do the Children Play?", "Don't Be Shy", "Wild World", and "Peace Train".
    The allegations first surfaced in the German newspaper BZ after Yusuf's trip to Berlin in March 2007 to collect the Echo music award for "life achievements as musician and ambassador between cultures".
    More Details Hide Details Once again he was awarded damages after the World Entertainment News Network allowed an article to be published on Contactmusic.com alleging that he would not speak to unveiled women with the exception of his wife. His solicitor said "he was made out to be 'so sexist and bigoted that he refused at an awards ceremony to speak to or even acknowledge any women who were not wearing a veil. The news agency apologised and issued a statement saying that Yusuf has never had any problem in working with women and has never required a third party as an intermediary to function at work. The money from this lawsuit went to his Small Kindness Charity.
    Muhammad's professional name is Yoriyos and his debut album was released in February 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Yoriyos created the art on Yusuf's album An Other Cup, something that Cat Stevens did for his own albums in the 1970s.
  • 2006
    Age 57
    On CBS Sunday Morning in December 2006, he said, "You know, the cup is there to be filled... with whatever you want to fill it with.
    More Details Hide Details For those people looking for Cat Stevens, they'll probably find him in this record. If you want to find Yusuf Islam, go a bit deeper, you'll find him." He has since described the album as being "over-produced" and refers to An Other Cup as being a necessary hurdle he had to overcome before he could release his new album, Roadsinger.
    Also in November 2006, Billboard magazine was curious as to why the artist is credited as just his first name, "Yusuf" rather than "Yusuf Islam".
    More Details Hide Details His response was "Because 'Islam' doesn't have to be sloganised. The second name is like the official tag, but you call a friend by their first name. It's more intimate, and to me that's the message of this record." As for why the album sleeve says "the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens", he responded, "That's the tag with which most people are familiar; for recognition purposes I'm not averse to that. For a lot of people, it reminds them of something they want to hold on to. That name is part of my history and a lot of the things I dreamt about as Cat Stevens have come true as Yusuf Islam." Yusuf was asked by the Swiss periodical Das Magazin why the title of the album was An Other Cup, rather than "Another Cup". The answer was that his breakthrough album, Tea for the Tillerman in 1970, was decorated with Yusuf's painting of a peasant sitting down to a cup of steaming drink on the land. He commented that the two worlds "then, and now, are very different". His new album shows a steaming cup alone on this cover. His answer was that this was actually an other cup; something different; a bridge between the East and West, which he explained was his own perceived role. He added that, through him, "Westerners might get a glimpse of the East, and Easterners, some understanding of the West.
    Yusuf actively promoted this album, appearing on radio, television and in print interviews. In November 2006, he told the BBC, "It's me, so it's going to sound like that of course...
    More Details Hide Details This is the real thing... When my son brought the guitar back into the house, you know, that was the turning point. It opened a flood of, of new ideas and music which I think a lot of people would connect with." Originally, he began to return only to his acoustic guitar as he had in the past, but his son encouraged him to "experiment", which resulted in the purchase of a Stevie Ray Vaughan Fender Stratocaster in 2007.
    The album, An Other Cup, was released internationally in November 2006 on his own label, Ya Records (distributed by Polydor Records in the UK, and internationally by Atlantic Records)—the 40th anniversary of his first album, Matthew and Son.
    More Details Hide Details An accompanying single, called "Heaven/Where True Love Goes", was also released. The album was produced with Rick Nowels, who has worked with Dido and Rod Stewart. The performer is noted as "Yusuf", with a cover label identifying him as "the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens". The art on the album is credited to Yoriyos. Yusuf wrote all of the songs except "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", and recorded it in the United States and the United Kingdom.
    In March 2006, Yusuf finished recording his first all-new pop album since 1978.
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    In December 2006, Yusuf was one of the artists who performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, in honour of the prize winners, Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank.
    More Details Hide Details He performed the songs "Midday (Avoid City After Dark)", "Peace Train", and "Heaven/Where True Love Goes". He also gave a concert in New York City that month as a Jazz at Lincoln Center event, recorded and broadcast by KCRW-FM radio, along with an interview by Nic Harcourt. Accompanying him, as in the Cat Stevens days, was Alun Davies, on guitar and vocals.
    There are clips of him singing in the studio when he was recording An Other Cup as well as a few 2006 excerpts of him on guitar singing a few verses of Cat Stevens songs including "The Wind" and "On the Road to Find Out".
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    This documentary film features rare audio and video clips from the late 1960s and 1970s, as well as an extensive interview with Yusuf, his brother David Gordon, several record executives, Bob Geldof, Dolly Parton, and others outlining his career as Cat Stevens, his conversion and emergence as Yusuf Islam, and his return to music in 2006.
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    In May 2006, in anticipation of his forthcoming new pop album, the BBC1 programme Imagine aired a 49-minute documentary with Alan Yentob called Yusuf: The Artist formerly Known as Cat Stevens.
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  • 2005
    Age 56
    In mid-2005, Yusuf played guitar for the Dolly Parton album, Those Were the Days, on her version of his "Where Do the Children Play?" (Parton had also covered "Peace Train" a few years earlier.)
    More Details Hide Details Yusuf has credited his then 21-year-old son Muhammad Islam, also a musician and artist, for his return to secular music, when the son brought a guitar back into the house, which Yusuf began playing.
    On 28 May 2005, Yusuf delivered a keynote speech and performed at the Adopt-A-Minefield Gala in Düsseldorf.
    More Details Hide Details The Adopt-A-Minefield charity, under the patronage of Paul McCartney, works internationally to raise awareness and funds to clear landmines and rehabilitate landmine survivors. Yusuf attended as part of an honorary committee which also included George Martin, Richard Branson, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Klaus Voormann, Christopher Lee and others.
    In early 2005, Yusuf released a new song, titled "Indian Ocean", about the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami disaster.
    More Details Hide Details The song featured Indian composer/producer A. R. Rahman, a-ha keyboard player Magne Furuholmen and Travis drummer Neil Primrose. Proceeds of the single went to help orphans in Banda Aceh, one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami, through Yusuf's Small Kindness charity. At first, the single was released only through several online music stores but later featured on the compilation album Cat Stevens: Gold. "I had to learn my faith and look after my family, and I had to make priorities. But now I've done it all and there's a little space for me to fill in the universe of music again."
    In a 2005 press release, he explained his revived recording career:
    More Details Hide Details What that means is that whenever one is confronted by something that is not mentioned in the scriptures, one must observe what benefit it can bring. Does it serve the common good, does it protect the spirit, and does it serve God?
    On 21 April 2005 Yusuf gave a short talk before a scheduled musical performance in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on the anniversary of the prophet Muhammad's birthday.
    More Details Hide Details He said: There is a great deal of ignorance in the world about Islam today, and we hope to communicate with the help of something more refined than lectures and talks. Our recordings are particularly appealing to the young, having used songs as well as Qur'an verses with pleasing sound effects Yusuf observed that there are no real guidelines about instruments and no references about the business of music in the Qur'an, and that Muslim travellers first brought the guitar to Moorish Spain. He noted that Muhammad was fond of celebrations, as in the case of the birth of a child, or a traveller arriving after a long journey. Thus, Yusuf concluded that healthy entertainment was acceptable within limitations, and that he now felt that it was no sin to perform with the guitar. Music, he now felt, is uplifting to the soul; something sorely needed in troubled times. At that point, he was joined by several young male singers who sang backing vocals and played a drum, with Yusuf as lead singer and guitarist. They performed two songs, both half in Arabic, and half in English; "Tala'a Al-Badru Alayna", an old song in Arabic which Islam recorded with a folk sound to it, and another song, "The Wind East and West", which was newly written by Yusuf and featured a distinct R&B sound.
  • 2004
    Age 55
    In December 2004, he and Ronan Keating released a new version of "Father and Son": the song entered the charts at number two, behind Band Aid 20's "Do They Know It's Christmas?
    More Details Hide Details " They also produced a video of the pair walking between photographs of fathers and sons, while singing the song. The proceeds of "Father and Son" were donated to the Band Aid charity. Keating's former group, Boyzone, had a hit with the song a decade earlier. As he had been persuaded before, Yusuf contributed to the song, because the proceeds were marked for charity.
    The harm done is often difficult to repair", and added that he intended to donate the financial award given to him by the court to help orphans of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
    More Details Hide Details He wrote about the experience in a newspaper article titled "A Cat in a Wild World". On 18 July 2008, Yusuf received substantial undisclosed damages from the World Entertainment News Network following their publication of a story that claimed the singer refused to speak to unveiled women.
    In October 2004 the News UK newspapers The Sun and The Sunday Times voiced their support for Yusuf's exclusion from the United States and claimed that he had supported terrorism.
    More Details Hide Details He sued for libel and received an out-of-court financial settlement from the newspapers, which both published apology statements saying that he had never supported terrorism and mentioning that he had recently been given a Man of Peace award from the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. However The Sunday Times managing editor Richard Caseby said that while there was an "agreed settlement", they "always denied liability" and "disagreed with Cat Stevens' lawyers interpretation", but took a "pragmatic view" of the lawsuit. Yusuf responded that he was "delighted by the settlement which helps vindicate my character and good name.... It seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days to make scurrilous accusations against Muslims, and in my case it directly impacts on my relief work and damages my reputation as an artist.
    Yusuf wrote a song about his 2004 exclusion from the US, titled "Boots and Sand", recorded in 2008 and featuring Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton, and Terry Sylvester.
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    Yusuf believed his inclusion on a "watch list" may have simply been an error: a mistaken identification of him for a man with the same name, but different spelling. On 1 October 2004 he requested the removal of his name, "I remain bewildered by the decision of the US authorities to refuse me entry to the United States".
    More Details Hide Details According to his statement, the man on the list was named "Youssef Islam", indicating that Yusuf was not the suspected terrorism supporter. Romanisation of Arabic names can easily result in different spellings: the transliteration of the Islamic name for Joseph lists a dozen spellings. Two years later, in December 2006, Yusuf was admitted without incident into the United States for several radio concert performances and interviews to promote his new record. He said of the incident at the time, "No reason was ever given, but being asked to repeat the spelling of my name again and again, made me think it was a fairly simple mistake of identity. Rumours which circulated after made me imagine otherwise."
    On 21 September 2004, Yusuf was on a United Airlines flight from London to Washington, travelling to a meeting with US entertainer Dolly Parton, who had recorded "Peace Train" several years earlier and was planning to include another Cat Stevens song on an upcoming album.
    More Details Hide Details While the plane was in flight, his name was flagged as being on the No Fly List. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers alerted the United States Transportation Security Administration, which then diverted his flight to Bangor, Maine, where he was detained by officers from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • 2001
    Age 52
    He appeared on videotape on a VH1 pre-show for the October 2001 Concert for New York City, condemning the attacks and singing his song "Peace Train" for the first time in public in more than 20 years, as an a cappella version.
    More Details Hide Details He also donated a portion of his box-set royalties to the fund for victims' families, and the rest to orphans in underdeveloped countries. During the same year, he dedicated time and effort in joining the Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism, an organisation that worked towards battling misconceptions and acts against others because of their religious beliefs or their racial identity (or both), after many Muslims reported a backlash against them due in part to the grief caused by the events in the United States on 11 September.
  • 2000
    Age 51
    The following day, he was denied entry and flown back to the United Kingdom. A spokesman for Homeland Security claimed there were "concerns of ties he may have to potential terrorist-related activities". The Israeli government had deported Yusuf in 2000 over allegations that he provided funding to the Palestinian organisation Hamas, but he denied doing so knowingly.
    More Details Hide Details Yusuf, who repeatedly has condemned terrorism and Islamic extremism, stated "I have never knowingly supported or given money to Hamas". "At the time I was reported to have done it, I didn't know such a group existed. Some people give a political interpretation to charity. We were horrified at how people were suffering in the Holy Land." However, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added him to a "watch list". The removal provoked an international controversy and led the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to complain personally to the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations. Powell responded by stating that the watchlist was under review, adding, "I think we have that obligation to review these matters to see if we are right".
  • FORTIES
  • 1997
    Age 48
    After Yusuf's friend, Irfan Ljubijankić, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was killed by a Serbian rocket attack, Yusuf appeared at a 1997 benefit concert in Sarajevo and recorded a benefit album named after a song written by Ljubijankić, I Have No Cannons That Roar.
    More Details Hide Details Realising there were few educational resources designed to teach children about the Islamic religion, Yusuf wrote and produced a children's album, A Is for Allah, in 2000 with the assistance of South African singer-songwriter Zain Bhikha. The title song was one Yusuf had written years before to introduce his first child to both the religion and the Arabic alphabet. He also established his own record label, "Jamal Records", and Mountain of Light Productions, and he donates a percentage of his projects' proceeds to his Small Kindness charity, whose name is taken from the Qur'an. On the occasion of the 2000 re-release of his Cat Stevens albums, Yusuf explained that he had stopped performing in English due to his misunderstanding of the Islamic faith. "This issue of music in Islam is not as cut-and-dried as I was led to believe... I relied on heresy, that was perhaps my mistake."
  • 1989
    Age 40
    Yusuf attracted controversy in 1989, during an address to students at London's Kingston University, where he was asked about the fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie, author of the novel The Satanic Verses.
    More Details Hide Details Yusuf made a series of comments that appeared to show his support for the fatwa. He released a statement the following day denying that he supported vigilantism, and claiming that he had merely recounted the legal Islamic punishment for blasphemy. In a 2006 BBC interview, he displayed a newspaper clipping from that period, with quotes from his statement. Subsequent comments made by him in 1989 on a British television programme were also seen as being in support of the fatwa. In a statement in the FAQ section of one of his websites, Yusuf asserted that while he regretted the comments, he was joking and that the show was improperly edited. In the years since these comments, he has repeatedly denied ever calling for the death of Rushdie or supporting the fatwa. Immediately following the 11 September attacks on the United States, he said:
    He was embroiled in a long-running controversy regarding comments he made in 1989 about the death fatwa on author Salman Rushdie.
    More Details Hide Details He has received two honorary doctorates and awards for promoting peace from two organisations founded by Mikhail Gorbachev. In 2006, he returned to pop music – releasing his first album of new pop songs in 28 years, titled 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 began his first US tour since 1978. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1985
    Age 36
    He served as chairman of the charity Muslim Aid from 1985 to 1993.
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  • 1983
    Age 34
    In 1983, he founded the Islamia Primary School in Brondesbury Park, later moved to Salusbury Road, in the north London area of Queen's Park and, soon after, founded several Muslim secondary schools; in 1992, he set up The Association of Muslim Schools (AMS-UK), a charity that brought together all the Muslim schools in the UK.
    More Details Hide Details He is also the founder and chairman of the Small Kindness charity, which initially assisted famine victims in Africa and now supports thousands of orphans and families in the Balkans, Indonesia, and Iraq.
  • 1979
    Age 30
    Appearing with his hair freshly shorn and an untrimmed beard, he headlined a charity concert on 22 November 1979 in Wembley Stadium to benefit UNICEF's International Year of the Child.
    More Details Hide Details The concert closed with his performance along with David Essex, Alun Davies, and Yusuf's brother, David Gordon, who wrote the finale song "Child for a Day".
    After a brief engagement to Louise Wightman, Yusuf married Fauzia Mubarak Ali on 7 September 1979, at Regent's Park Mosque in London.
    More Details Hide Details They have one son and four daughters and seven grandchildren; a second son died in infancy. They currently live in London, spending part of each year in Dubai. Following his conversion, Yusuf abandoned his music career for nearly three decades. In 2007, he said that when he became a Muslim in 1977, the Imam at his mosque told him that it was fine to continue as a musician, as long as the songs were morally acceptable, but that others were saying "it was all prohibited", and he decided to avoid the question by ceasing to perform. He has said there was "a combination of reasons, really", and that the continuing demands of the music business had been "becoming a chore, and not an inspiration anymore". In a 2004 interview on Larry King Live, he said "A lot of people would have loved me to keep singing. You come to a point where you have sung, more or less... your whole repertoire and you want to get down to the job of living. You know, up until that point, I hadn't had a life. I'd been searching, been on the road."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1977
    Age 28
    Stevens formally converted to the Islamic religion on 23 December 1977, taking the name Yusuf Islam in 1978.
    More Details Hide Details Yusuf is the Arabic rendition of the name Joseph; he stated that he "always loved the name Joseph" and was particularly drawn to the story of Joseph in the Qur'an. Although he discontinued his pop career, he was persuaded to perform one last time before what would become his twenty-five-year musical hiatus.
    In April 1977, his Izitso album updated his pop rock and folk rock style with the extensive use of synthesisers, giving it a more synthpop style. "Was Dog a Doughnut" in particular was an early techno-pop fusion track and a precursor to the 1980s electro music genre, making early use of a music sequencer.
    More Details Hide Details Izitso included his last chart hit, "(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard", an early synthpop song that used a polyphonic synthesiser; it was a duet with fellow UK singer Elkie Brooks. Linda Lewis appears in the song's video, with Cat Stevens singing to her, as they portray former schoolmates, singing to each other on a schoolyard merry-go-round. This is one of the few music videos that Stevens made, other than simple videos of concert performances. His final original album under the name Cat Stevens was Back to Earth, released in late 1978, which was also the first album produced by Samwell-Smith since his peak in single album sales in the early 1970s. Several compilation albums were released before and after he stopped recording. After Stevens left Decca Records they bundled his first two albums together as a set, hoping to ride the commercial tide of his early success; later his newer labels did the same, and he himself released compilations. The most successful of the compilation albums was the 1975 Greatest Hits which has sold over 4 million copies in the United States. In May 2003 he received his first Platinum Europe Award from the IFPI for Remember Cat Stevens, The Ultimate Collection, indicating over one million European sales.
  • 1976
    Age 27
    In 1976 Stevens nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu, California, United States, and said he shouted: "Oh, God!
    More Details Hide Details If you save me I will work for you." He related that right afterward a wave appeared and carried him back to shore. This brush with death intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth. He had looked into "Buddhism, Zen, I Ching, numerology, tarot cards, and astrology". Stevens' brother David Gordon brought him a copy of the Qur'an as a birthday gift from a trip to Jerusalem. Stevens took to it right away, and began his transition to Islam. During the time he was studying the Qur'an, Stevens began to identify more and more with the story of Joseph, a man bought and sold in the market place, which is how he said he had increasingly felt within the music business. Regarding his conversion, in his 2006 interview with Alan Yentob, he stated, "to some people, it may have seemed like an enormous jump, but for me, it was a gradual move to this." And, in a Rolling Stone magazine interview, he reaffirmed this, saying, "I had found the spiritual home I'd been seeking for most of my life. And if you listen to my music and lyrics, like "Peace Train" and "On The Road To Find Out", it clearly shows my yearning for direction and the spiritual path I was travelling."
  • 1973
    Age 24
    In November 1973 he performed side two of the album at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood, with a pre-arranged uninterrupted quadraphonic simulcast on the ABC network.
    More Details Hide Details The show was titled the "Moon and Star" concert. This performance did include his band, but they were all but overshadowed by an orchestra. The album produced a couple of singles including "The Hurt", but did not reach the heights he had once enjoyed. The follow-up to Foreigner was Buddha and the Chocolate Box, largely a return to the instrumentation and styles employed in Teaser and the Firecat and Tea for the Tillerman. Featuring the return of Alun Davies and best known for "Oh Very Young", Buddha and the Chocolate Box reached platinum status in 2001. Stevens' next album was the concept album Numbers, a less successful departure for him.
    In 1973, Stevens moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a tax exile from the United Kingdom, however, he later donated the money to UNESCO.
    More Details Hide Details During that time he created the album Foreigner, which was a departure from the music that had brought him to the height of his fame. It differed in several respects: entirely written by Stevens, he dropped his band and produced the record without the assistance of Samwell-Smith, who had played a large role in catapulting him to fame, and instead of guitar, he played keyboard instruments throughout the album. It was intended to show a funk/soul element rising in popularity that Stevens had come to appreciate. One side of Foreigner was continuous, much different from the radio-friendly pop tunes fans had come to expect.
  • 1971
    Age 22
    For seven months from 1971 to 1972 Stevens was romantically linked to popular singer Carly Simon while both were produced by Samwell-Smith.
    More Details Hide Details During that time both wrote songs for and about one another. Simon wrote and recorded at least two Top 50 songs, "Legend in Your Own Time" and "Anticipation" about Stevens. He reciprocated in his song to her, after their romance, titled, "Sweet Scarlet". His next album, Catch Bull at Four, released in 1972, was his most rapidly successful album in the United States, reaching gold record status in 15 days, and holding the number-one position on the Billboard charts for three weeks. This album continued the introspective and spiritual lyrics that he was known for, combined with a rougher-edged voice and a less acoustic sound than his previous records, using synthesisers and other instruments. Although the sales of the album indicated Stevens' popularity, the album did not produce any real hits, with the exception of the single "Sitting", which charted at number 16. Catch Bull at Four was Platinum certified in 2001.
  • 1970
    Age 21
    Subsequent releases in the 1970s also did well on the charts and in ongoing sales, although they did not touch the success he had from 1970 to 1973.
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    In July 1970, Stevens recorded one of his songs, "But I Might Die Tonight", for the Jerzy Skolimowski film, Deep End.
    More Details Hide Details In 1971, Stevens provided nine songs to the soundtrack of the black comedy Harold and Maude which became a popular cult film celebrating the free spirit, and brought Stevens' music to a wider audience, continuing to do so long after he stopped recording in the late 1970s. Among the songs were "Where Do the Children Play? ", "Trouble", and "I Think I See the Light". Two of the songs, "Don't Be Shy" and "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out", were not released on any album until their inclusion in 1984 on a second "greatest hits" collection, Footsteps in the Dark: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2. After his religious conversion in the late 1970s, Stevens stopped granting permission for his songs to be used in films. However, almost twenty years later, in 1997, the movie Rushmore received his permission to use his songs "Here Comes My Baby" and "The Wind", showing a new willingness on his part to release his music from his Western "pop star" days. This was followed in 2000 by the inclusion of "Peace Train" in the movie Remember the Titans, in 2000 by the use in Almost Famous of the song "The Wind", and in 2006 the inclusion of "Peace Train" on the soundtrack to We Are Marshall. Since then, permission has been given for Cat Stevens songs to be used in the soundtracks for several movies and tv shows, including the song "Tea for The Tillerman" used as the theme tune for the Ricky Gervais BBC-HBO sitcom Extras.
  • 1969
    Age 20
    Stevens contracted tuberculosis in 1969 and was close to death at the time of his admittance to the King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, West Sussex.
    More Details Hide Details He spent months recuperating in the hospital and a year of convalescence. During this time Stevens began to question aspects of his life and spirituality. He later said, "to go from the show business environment and find you are in hospital, getting injections day in and day out, and people around you are dying, it certainly changes your perspective. I got down to thinking about myself. It seemed almost as if I had my eyes shut." He took up meditation, yoga, and metaphysics; read about other religions; and became a vegetarian. As a result of his serious illness and long convalescence, and as a part of his spiritual awakening and questioning, he wrote as many as forty songs, many of which would appear on his albums in years to come. The lack of success of Stevens' second album mirrored a difference of personal tastes in musical direction, and a growing resentment at producer Mike Hurst's attempts to re-create another album like that of his debut, with heavy-handed orchestration, and over-production, rather than the folk rock sound Stevens was attempting to produce. He admits having purposefully sabotaged his own contract with Hurst, making outlandishly expensive orchestral demands and threatening legal action, which resulted in his goal: release from his contract with Deram Records, a sub-label of Decca Records. Upon regaining his health at home after his release from the hospital, Stevens recorded some of his newly written songs on his tape recorder, and played his changing sound for a few new record executives.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1967
    Age 18
    His December 1967 album New Masters failed to chart in the United Kingdom.
    More Details Hide Details The album is now most notable for his song "The First Cut Is the Deepest", a song he sold for £30 to P. P. Arnold that was to become a massive hit for her, and an international hit for Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, James Morrison, and Sheryl Crow. Forty years after he recorded the first demo of the song, it earned him two back-to-back ASCAP "Songwriter of the Year" awards, in 2005 and 2006.
    In August 1967, he went on the air with other recording artists who had benefited from the station to mourn its closure.
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    Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou), commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist. His 1967 debut album reached the top 10 in the UK, and the album's title song "Matthew and Son" charted at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.
    More Details Hide Details His albums Tea for the Tillerman (1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971) were both certified triple platinum in the US by the RIAA. His musical style consists of folk, pop, rock, and Islamic music. His 1972 album Catch Bull at Four spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, and fifteen weeks at number one in the Australian ARIA Charts. He earned two ASCAP songwriting awards in 2005 and 2006 for "The First Cut Is the Deepest", and the song has been a hit for four different artists. His other hit songs include "Father and Son", "Wild World", "Peace Train", "Moonshadow", and "Morning Has Broken". In 2007 he received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection. In December 1977, Stevens converted to Islam, and he adopted the name Yusuf Islam the following year. In 1979, he auctioned all his guitars for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community.
  • 1966
    Age 17
    In 1966, at age 18, he impressed manager/producer Mike Hurst, formerly of British vocal group the Springfields, with his songs and Hurst arranged for him to record a demo and then helped him get a record deal.
    More Details Hide Details The first singles were hits. "I Love My Dog", charting on the UK Singles Chart at number 28, and "Matthew and Son", the title song from his debut album, went to number 2 in the UK. "I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun" was his second UK top 10, reaching number 6, and the album Matthew and Son reached number 7 on the UK Albums Chart. The original version of the Tremeloes' hit "Here Comes My Baby" was written and recorded by Stevens. Over the next two years, Stevens recorded and toured with an eclectic group of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Engelbert Humperdinck. Stevens was considered a fresh-faced teen star, placing several single releases in the British pop music charts. Some of that success was attributed to the pirate radio station Wonderful Radio London, which gained him fans by playing his records.
  • 1965
    Age 16
    In 1965 he signed a publishing deal with Ardmore & Beechwood and recorded several demos, including "The First Cut Is the Deepest".
    More Details Hide Details Georgiou began to perform his songs in London coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realised he preferred performing solo. Thinking that his given name might not be memorable to prospective fans, he chose the stage name Cat Stevens, in part because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he said, "I couldn't imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for 'that Steven Demetre Georgiou album'. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals."
    Though he enjoyed art (his later record albums would feature his original artwork on his album covers), he wanted to establish a musical career and began to perform originally under the stage name "Steve Adams" in 1965 while at Hammersmith.
    More Details Hide Details At that point, his goal was to become a songwriter. As well as the Beatles, other musicians who influenced him were the Kinks, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, blues artists Lead Belly and Muddy Waters, Biff Rose (particularly Rose's first album), Leo Kottke, and Paul Simon. He also wanted to emulate composers who wrote musicals, like Ira Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1948
    Born
    Born on July 21, 1948.
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