Yusuf Islamphoto: YusufIslam.com

The Muslim musician who now goes by the name Yusuf Islam, Cat Stevens will return to the United States for his first tour here in decades.

Famous for songs Wild World and Father and Son, just two songs among his vast and powerful catalogue, Cat Stevens, also known as Yusuf Islam, will return to the United States for his first tour here since 1976.

Who is Cat Stevens?

No stranger to changing his name, he was born Steven Georgiou in July of 1948. As a performer, Cat Stevens is a British musician who rose to fame between 1970 and 1978. During this period, he released several albums and earned much critical praise. His breakthrough album, Tea for the Tillerman, reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 within six months of its release and is listed on the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 1972, he released Catch Bull at Four which reigned as the number one album on the Billboard charts for several weeks.

Religious Awakening

In 1976, Cat Stevens nearly drowned in Malibu, California. He survived this encounter, and his long-held quest for religious and spiritual truth was intensified. His brother, after a vacation in Jerusalem, bought him a copy of the Qur’an. He began reading the Qur’an, and identified with a man named Joseph, who was bought and sold at a marketplace. Through this connection, Cat Stevens grew increasingly interested in converting to Islam. In 1977, he made the decision to formally become a Muslim. In 1978, he took the name Yusuf, paying homage to Joseph. After 1978, Cat Stevens, at the time called Yusuf, abandoned his career in music to pursue his religious education and to perform philanthropic deeds.

Controversy and Being Barred from the US

In 2004, American officials diverted the path of a plane on its way to Washington from the United Kingdom because Yusuf Islam was onboard. The musician was detained and then denied entry and sent back to London. He was on the government’s “No-Fly List” because Israel suspected him of donating to Islamist extremist groups, most notably Hamas. Yusuf denied ever contributing to such organizations claiming, “I have never knowingly supported or given money to Hamas.”

Return to Music and America

After being away from music for nearly 20 years, Yusuf returned to music, mainly singing about Islamic themes. It was not until 2006 that Yusuf recorded another pop album, entitled An Other Cup. He began to tour internationally, but, despite numerous trips here since the controversy in 2004, he has yet to tour in the United States. That will change later this year as Yusuf announced his first United States tour since 1976. It will bring him to six U.S. cities, and many of his long-time fans eagerly await his return.

His North America dates will start in Toronto, Canada on December 1 and continue through Boston (12/4), New York (12/7), Chicago (12/9), San Francisco (12/12), and Los Angeles (12/14).


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