There is something timeless about Cat Stevens’ music. I don’t think I am being nostalgic when I listen to his songs, they sound is if they were written and produced just yesterday. I also seem to have the same emotional response now as then despite being 50 years older.
Even though my songs are currently lyric free, my musical journey includes singing. And, like most singers, I learned to sing by imitating singers I admired. A previous post mentioned Greg Lake as my favorite voice of all time, but I couldn’t sing along with his songs. They were pitched way too high. So, I sang along with Ian Anderson, James Taylor, and Cat Stevens. To some degree, I think my older teenage voice was a fusion of those voices (at least in my mind). Cat Stevens was unique, however. I purchased all his albums, then all his cassette tapes, then eventually, all of his CDs. During my 30s and 40s I must admit that I didn’t listen to as much music as I should have, and many of my favorite songs collected metaphorical dust. But I remember the day I decided to purchase all the Cat Stevens CDs. It had been 25 years since I heard any of that music, but I sang along to 5 or 6 albums with no forgotten words. His music is sticky that way.
This video shows a simple acoustic performance of the song Lady d’Arbanville. I could have picked any song of his, as he never wrote a bad one, but this song shows off so much of what makes his music so perfect. His harmonies and melodies are complex, and his narratives are mind bending. Add to that this beautiful guitar duet, and you get something very special. Finally, his voice. As I listen to this video once again, there is no doubt why I wanted to sound like him.