Tea for the Tillerman

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Tea for the Tillerman
Studio album by Cat Stevens
Released 23 November 1970
Recorded July 1970, Morgan Studios, Island Studios and Olympic Studios, London,
Genre Folk rock
Length 36:40
Label Island (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
Producer Paul Samwell-Smith
Cat Stevens chronology
Mona Bone Jakon
Tea for the Tillerman
Teaser and the Firecat
Singles from Tea for the Tillerman
  1. "Father and Son"
    Released: 1970
  2. "Wild World"
    Released: September 1970

Tea for the Tillerman is an album by the singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. This album, Stevens' second during 1970, includes many of Stevens' best-known songs including "Where Do the Children Play?", "Hard Headed Woman", "Wild World", "Sad Lisa", "Into White", and "Father and Son". Four of the tracks ("Where Do the Children Play?", "On the Road to Find Out", "Tea for the Tillerman", and "Miles from Nowhere") were featured in the Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins' black comedy film Harold and Maude, in 1971. The track "But I Might Die Tonight" was featured in a film the year before, in 1970: Deep End, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. Stevens, a former art student, created the artwork featured on the record's cover. "Tea for the Tillerman" was also used over the end credits for the BBC TV show Extras.

With "Wild World" as an advance single, this was the album that brought Stevens world-wide fame.[citation needed] The album itself charted into the top 10 in the United States, where he had previously had few listeners.[citation needed]

In November 2008, a "Deluxe Edition" was released featuring a second disc of demos and live recordings. In January 2012, a hi-res 24/192 kHz version was remastered using an Ampex ATR100 and a MSB Technology Studio ADC and released on HDtracks.com.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "B–" and found the music monotonous and lacking the "dry delicacy" Stevens exhibited on Mona Bone Jakon (1970).[2] Rolling Stone magazine's Ben Gerson said that Stevens' songs effortlessly resonate beyond their artfully simple lyrics and hooks, despite his occasional overuse of dynamics "for dramatic effect."[3]

In a retrospective five-star review, AllMusic's William Ruhlmann praised Stevens' themes of spirituality and transcendence, and felt that he had continued to show his ability as a pop melodicist: "As a result, Tea for the Tillerman became a big seller and, for the second time in four years, its creator became a pop star."[4] On 18 November 2003, Rolling Stone included this album in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list at number 206.[5] In 2006, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6] In 2007, the album was included in the list of "The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time", released by The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Cat Stevens.

Original release[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Where Do the Children Play?" – 3:52
  2. "Hard Headed Woman" – 3:47
  3. "Wild World" – 3:20
  4. "Sad Lisa" – 3:45
  5. "Miles from Nowhere" – 3:37

Side two[edit]

  1. "But I Might Die Tonight" – 1:53
  2. "Longer Boats" – 3:12
  3. "Into White" – 3:24
  4. "On the Road to Find Out" – 5:08
  5. "Father and Son" – 3:41
  6. "Tea for the Tillerman" – 1:01

Deluxe Edition[edit]

Disc two[edit]

  1. "Wild World" Demo – 3:14
  2. "Longer Boats" Live at the Troubadour – 2:51
  3. "Into White" Live at the Troubadour – 3:37
  4. "Miles from Nowhere" Demo – 3:14
  5. "Hard Headed Woman" Live in Japan – 3:57
  6. "Where Do the Children Play?" Majikat Earth Tour 1976 – 3:20
  7. "Sad Lisa" Majikat Earth Tour 1976 – 3:13
  8. "On the Road to Find Out" Live at KCET-TV – 4:57
  9. "Father and Son" Yusuf's Café Sessions – 4:25
  10. "Wild World" Yusuf's Café Sessions – 3:03
  11. "Tea for the Tillerman" Live at the BBC – 0:50


  • Cat Stevensguitar, keyboards, lead vocals
  • Alun Davies – 2nd guitar, backing vocals
  • Harvey Burns – drums
  • John Ryan – bass guitar



Year Chart Position
1971 Pop Albums 8[8]


Year Single Chart Position
1971 "Wild World" Pop Singles 11


Organization Level Date
RIAA – US Gold 12 May 1971
RIAA – US Platinum 30 January 2001
RIAA – US Double Platinum 30 January 2001
RIAA – US Triple Platinum 30 January 2001

Cover versions[edit]

Songs from this album have been covered by a diverse range of artists, which include:

Use in popular culture[edit]

The title track is used by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant for the closing credits of Extras. The fourth episode of the second series of the show features a cover of "Tea for the Tillerman" performed by Chris Martin of Coldplay.

The song "Miles From Nowhere" is featured in The A-Team and is used during Face's (Dirk Benedict) walking away scenes in the episode "Alive at Five".

The character Sid in Skins sings the song "Wild World" with the rest of the Skins cast at the end of the last episode of Skins in series 1.

The song "Wild World" is featured on the episode "Escobar Galloardo" from the first season of Nip/Tuck.


  1. ^ https://www.HDtracks.com/index.php?file=catalogdetail&valbum_code=HX00731454688420
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 10, 1971). "Consumer Guide (18)". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ Gerson, Ben (18 February 1971). "Cat Stevens Tea for the Tillerman > Review". Rolling Stone (76). Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2006. 
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Tea for the Tillerman at AllMusic. Retrieved 11 March 2005.
  5. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "206 | Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 11 March 2005. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ http://eil.com/features/Definitive_200.asp
  8. ^ Cat Stevens > Tea for the Tillerman > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic