|Single by Cat Stevens|
|from the album Tea for the Tillerman|
|B-side||"Miles from Nowhere" (USA)
|Format||7" 45 rpm|
|Cat Stevens singles chronology|
Sample of "Wild World", performed by Cat Stevens. Appears on Tea for the Tillerman.
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"Wild World" is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. It first appeared on his fourth album, Tea for the Tillerman, recorded and released in 1970 and, continuing the change in Stevens' sound, after leaving Deram Records and signing with Island Records. Mona Bone Jakon was his first album released after a debilitating year of recovery from tuberculosis. As he convalesced, Stevens filled his time whilst still on bedrest, finding himself becoming a far more prolific songwriter, and after such a dramatic brush with death began to focus on his purpose in life after some unpleasant and stressful dealings with his previous record label. Favouring a newfound "stripped down" folk rock sound and bucking the heavily orchestrated constraints from his previous contract with Deram Records' Mike Hurst, he instead chose Paul Samwell-Smith (formerly of The Yardbirds) as his producer. With Samwell-Smith supportive of his judgement, Stevens once again began turning out hit records with a different meaning and depth, both lyrically and melodically, beginning with Mona Bone Jakon and continuing to Tea for the Tillerman, where "Wild World" became a popular hit song both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Both critics and Stevens himself agree that this album and the songs to come from it are some of Stevens' best work.
Stevens developed a relationship with a young American woman, Patti D'Arbanville, and the two were a pair throughout a period of two years or so. During that time, he wrote several songs about her, including the hit song "Wild World."
The song is in the form of the singer's words to his departing lover, inspired by the end of their romance. Stevens later recalled to Mojo: "It was one of those chord sequences that's very common in Spanish music. I turned it around and came up with that theme- which is a recurring theme in my work- which is to do with leaving, the sadness of leaving, and the anticipation of what lies beyond."  Released as a single in late 1970, it just missed becoming Stevens' first top ten hit in the U.S., peaking at #11 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. "Wild World" has been credited as the song that gave Stevens next album, Tea for the Tillerman "enough kick" to get it played on FM radio; and Island Records' Chris Blackwell has been quoted as calling it "the best album we’ve ever released" to that date.
In November 2008, the Tea for the Tillerman CD was re-issued in a deluxe version which included the original demo of "Wild World".
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
The song has been covered by many artists, with many of the covers becoming hits of their own. Jimmy Cliff's version, released a few months after Stevens released the original version, reached number eight on the UK Singles Chart. Surprisingly, Stevens' version was not released as a single in the UK. Some of the subsequent covers have also been in the reggae style, indicating that they may be covers of Cliff's version, as opposed to direct covers of Cat Stevens' original arrangement. An example of this would be Maxi Priest's version of the song. Recorded and released as a single in 1988, this version also did well on the charts, reaching number five on the UK Singles Chart and #25 on the US Billboard Pop Singles Chart. In 1993, the band Mr. Big released a cover of the song as a single, charting at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100, #33 on the Top 40 Mainstream #33 and #12 on the Mainstream Top 40.
In 1970, Australian band Fourth House released a cover version of "Wild World" as their one and only single. It reached #16 on the Australian charts.
In 1987, Jonathan King accused Pet Shop Boys of plagiarising the melody of "Wild World" for their UK #1 single "It's a Sin". He made the claims in The Sun, for which he wrote a regular column during the 1980s. King also released his own cover version of "Wild World" as a single, using a similar musical arrangement to "It's a Sin", in an effort to demonstrate his claims. This single flopped, while Pet Shop Boys sued King, eventually winning out-of-court damages, which they donated to charity.
In 1993, Mr. Big recorded this song for the Bump Ahead CD
In 2000, Brazilian pop group Pepê & Neném recorded a version of the song in Portuguese, "Nada me faz esquecer" (Nothing makes me forget).
On July 7, 2007, the song was performed twice at the Live Earth concerts. James Blunt sang it at Wembley Stadium in London, England, while Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) himself sang it in Hamburg, Germany.
Garth Brooks for the 2013 "The Melting Pot" album in the "Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences" compilation.
- 1971: Jimmy Cliff
- 1971: Claude François (Fleur sauvage)
- 1971: Barry Ryan
- 1971: Bette Midler
- 1971: José Feliciano
- 1971: The Ventures
- 1971: Franck Pourcel (Instrumental version)
- 1971: Sacha Distel
- 1987: Jonathan King
- 1987: Inker & Hamilton
- 1988: Maxi Priest
- 1989: SNFU
- 1993: Mr. Big
- 1994: Wise Guys
- 2001: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
- 2003: Skye Sweetnam (Billy S. - B-side)
- 2004: Cat Stevens feat. Peter Gabriel
- 2004: John Waite
- 2007: Skins cast. Lead by Mike Bailey
- 2007: James Blunt
- 2008: Blue Lagoon
- Disney animated characters
- 2010: Ronan Keating (Feat. Marvin Priest)
- 2011: Daanie
- Matt Nathanson
- Joanna Wang
- 2012: Andy Allo
- Christopher Owens
- Beth Orton
- Ira Losco
- Pepê e Neném (Brazilian Version, called "Nada Me Faz Esquecer")
- 2013: Garth Brooks