Numbers (Cat Stevens album)

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A Pythagorean Theory Tale
Studio album by Cat Stevens
Released November 30, 1975
Recorded October 1975,
Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada
Genre Soft rock, folk rock
Length 33:38
Label Island (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
Producer Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens chronology
Alternative Cover
Numbers reissue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]

Numbers is a concept album by singer/songwriter Cat Stevens released in November 1975.

History of the album[edit]

Subtitled "A Pythagorean Theory Tale", the album was based on a fictional planet in a far-off galaxy named Polygor and the "Polygons" who inhabit its palace. The album included a booklet with excerpts from the planned book of the same name, written by Chris Bryant and Allan Scott, and contains pen-and-ink illustrations by Stevens.[2]

The idea shaped into a fantastic, spiritual musical set on the planet Polygor. In the story, there is a castle with a number machine. This machine exists to fulfill the sole purpose of the planet: to disperse numbers to the rest of the universe—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (but notably, not 0). The nine inhabitants of Polygor, called "Polygons", are Monad, Dupey, Trezlar, Cubis, Qizlo, Hexidor, Septo, Octav, and Novim. As the last lines of the book say, they "followed a life of routine that had existed for as long as any could remember. ... It was, therefore, all the more shocking when on an ordinary day things first started to go wrong." The change takes the form of Jzero, who comes from nowhere as a slave and eventually confuses everybody with his simple truth.[2]


Upon it's initial release in late 1975, both fans and critics alike were confused by the concept and the lack of "pop-ready" music that they had been used to from Stevens, and although the album eventually achieved "gold status" in sales, it still sold far less than any of his last four albums and was considered a critical failure. At one point, his record label A&M Records contemplated terminating his contract but he still had two albums left to make for them. Stevens still remained still very bitter about the process of fame and the pressures to make money for his label, further distancing himself from any kind of promotion for the album.

Upon hearing the label's ultimatum - make a "pop record" or else - he set out to make to one of the more expensive records of his career over a year later, 1977's "Izitso," which yielded several hits for him. The failure of both "Numbers" and the success of "Izitso" less than two years later only showed the label he was still hit-worthy, but he withdrew even further and began to embrace his faith in converting to Islam even more.

In 1994 the album was released as a limited edition three-disc compact disc box set along with the albums Izitso and Back to Earth in a box set called Three from the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label. It is now out of print an highly prized among collectors.

Track listing[edit]

All the tracks were written by Cat Stevens. The original LP broke with tradition and called the second side "Side 0", a reference to Jzero.[original research?]

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Whistlestar" – 3:46
  2. "Novim's Nightmare" – 3:50
  3. "Majik of Majiks" – 4:30
  4. "Drywood" – 4:53

Side 0 (2)[edit]

  1. "Banapple Gas" – 3:07
  2. "Land o' Freelove & Goodbye" – 2:50
  3. "Jzero" – 3:44
  4. "Home" – 4:09
  5. "Monad's Anthem" – 2:43


Additional personnel[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ a b Numbers (Media notes). Cat Stevens. A&M Records. 1975.