Fifty years ago, in 1971, Cat Stevens recorded his first Top 10 hit.
Music journalist Robert Christgau was not impressed. With the Vietnam War still raging Christgau wrote in 1972, “…When Stevens informs the world that we’re all on a peace train, I get annoyed. We’re not, and if Stevens ever stops shaking his head long enough to see clearly for a second, he might realize it.”
Stevens converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, and practically stopped touring and making music until 2006.
His hit “Peace Train” got worldwide attention this week.
Tuesday marked the International Day of Peace.
Yusuf collaborated with Playing for Change on a project to celebrate the day that recorded more than 25 musicians from 12 countries around the world, all performing “Peace Train.” Participating artists included The Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons, blues artist Keb’ Mo’, Grammy-winning Americana artist Rhiannon Giddens, and more.