Peace Train

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"Peace Train"
Single by Cat Stevens
from the album Teaser and the Firecat
B-side Where Do the Children Play? (US/Canada/Europe)
Tuesday's Dead (UK)
Released September 1971 (US)
Genre Folk-rock
Length 4:12
Label Island (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
Writer(s) Cat Stevens
Producer(s) Paul Samwell-Smith
Audio sample
file info · help

"Peace Train" is the title of a 1971 hit song by Cat Stevens, taken from his album Teaser and the Firecat. The song climbed to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the week of October 9, 1971, becoming Stevens' first US Top 10 hit. The song also spent three weeks at #1 on the adult contemporary chart.[1] It is also featured on The Very Best of Cat Stevens compilation album.

Cat Stevens later converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, and went into reclusion, but later made some public comments about the plight of children in the Iraq War. Stevens said "'Peace Train' is a song I wrote, the message of which continues to breeze thunderously through the hearts of millions. There is a powerful need for people to feel that gust of hope rise up again. As a member of humanity and as a Muslim, this is my contribution to the call for a peaceful solution." He re-recorded the song for War Child in 2003. The song has also been covered by Tony Meléndez in 1987, Jann Arden in 2007, and Zain Bhikha in 2008.[2]

Aside from Stevens' original recording, a cover version of "Peace Train" was recorded by the American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. The song originally appeared on the band's 1987 album, In My Tribe, but it failed to chart. After Stevens' comment which some interpreted as calling for the death of Salman Rushdie, 10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant had "Peace Train" removed from all copies of the album in the U.S.

In 1996, Dolly Parton included a version of "Peace Train", accompanied by South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, on her album of covers Treasures. Parton produced a CBS television special, airing in November 1996, to promote the album, in which she described "Peace Train" as a personal favorite song of hers. The special also included a brief interview of Yusuf Islam, describing how he came to write the song. (Islam later joined Parton on a cover of another of his songs, "Where Do the Children Play?", playing guitar on the track.) In May 1997, Parton filmed by a music video for the song, directed by Christopher Ciccone, brother of entertainer Madonna.[3]

Stevens performed the song live at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony when Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh received the award. The interlude during the song where the background singers chant "Kumbayaba" was removed for this version.

The song has appeared in the films Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall, and Jobs.

The song was also performed with the accompaniment of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Islam (Stevens) performed the song as part of a comedic skit at Jon Stewart's Rally To Restore Sanity.

This song has also been covered by Swedish singer Laleh who is Iranian born. It has been covered live.

The song was also remixed by Junior Vasquez, a well-known house music DJ, during his nightclub tenure at an event called "Arena" in New York City.

The song was also sang by Richie Havens it was included in the soundtrack of The Wonder Years TV series. The corresponding CD was released in 1988.

Sam Harris recorded and released a version of the song in 2001 on his album "Revival".

Rob Tobias and Friends recorded the Cat Stevens song "Peace Train" as a medley with the song "Salaam" which was written by the Arab/Israeli group called "Sheva". The track appears on the 2003 CD release "World in the World".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  2. ^ July 9, 2008 "Raise Your Voice"
  3. ^ Ciccone, Christopher (2008) 'Life with my Sister Madonna', Simon & Schuster: New York, p.248

External links[edit]