Yusuf/Cat Stevens Releases 50th Anniversary Remaster of ‘Catch Bull at Four’

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ highest charting release Catch Bull At Four, the album will be available on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1972, along with a new remaster, out Dec. 2.

The release, which follows the previous 50th anniversaries of Stevens’ seminal albums, Mona Bone Jakon, Tea for the Tillerman, and Teaser and the Firecat, will be available at CatStevens.com, and also be released on CD for the first time since 2000.

Stevens’ sixth album, Catch Bull At Four followed the artist’s expanding global success with hits like “Wild World,” “Father and Son,” “Peace Train,” “Where Do The Children Play?” and “Morning Has Broken.” Produced by former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith and guitarist Alun Davies, who collaborated with Stevens on his prior three recordings, the album title was inspired by Kuòān Shīyuǎn’s “Ten Bulls of Zen,” a series of short poems, which follow a protagonist in search of a bull. He eventually catches and tames the animal and finds enlightenment through the experience.

“Contrary to the spiritual nature and theme of the album, ‘Catch Bull At Four’ went straight to number one and became one of my biggest commercial accomplishments,” said Yusuf in a statement. “It was scary. I feared it would divert me from my spiritual goal. That’s precisely why I followed it up with an album called ‘Foreigner,’ which would sacrifice my newly acquired crown for a welcome return to obscurity.”

Catch Bull At Four came a very prolific time in Stevens’ career, following a bout of tuberculosis and finding more spirituality, his music began veering more into reflective songwriting and a more stripped-back folk-rock sound, a departure from his earlier hits “I Love My Dog” and “Matthew and Son,” which he released as a teen.

Cat Stevens in London, May 25, 1972 (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Sonically, Catch Bull At Four incorporated lusher instrumentation, and the album finds Stevens concerned for the state of the world on tracks like “Can’t Keep It In” and “O’Caritas,” along with the more hopeful “Silent Sunlight,” and addressing his newfound fame and spiritual journey on tracks like “Sitting”—Sitting on my own not by myself / Everybody’s here with me / I don’t need to touch your face to know / And I don’t need to use my eyes to see. … Bleeding half my soul in bad company / I thank the moon I had the strength to stop.

When released, Catch Bull At Four hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100, where it remained for three weeks. The album was certified platinum, peaked at No. 2 in the U.K., and also topped the album charts in Canada and Australia.

Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

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