Year of the Cat

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Year of the Cat
Studio album by Al Stewart
Released July 1976 (UK), October 1976 (US)
Recorded January 1976
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 38:55
Label RCA, Parlophone (2014), Janus
Producer Alan Parsons
Al Stewart chronology
Modern Times
(1975)
Year of the Cat
(1976)
Time Passages
(1978)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau B−[2]

Year of the Cat is the seventh studio album by Al Stewart, released in 1976 and engineered by Alan Parsons; it is considered his masterpiece,[3] its sales helped by the hit single "Year of the Cat", "one of those 'mysterious woman' songs,"[4] co-written by Peter Wood. The other single from the album was "On the Border". Stewart wrote "Lord Grenville" about the Elizabethan sailor and explorer Sir Richard Grenville (1542–1591).[5]

Stewart had all of the music and orchestration written and completely recorded before he even had a title of any of the songs. In a Canadian radio interview he stated that he has done this for 6 of his albums, and he often writes four different sets of lyrics for each song.[6] The title track derives from a song Stewart wrote in 1966 called "Foot of the Stage" with prescient lyrics about Tony Hancock, one of Britain's favourite comedians who tragically committed suicide two years later.[7] When Stewart discovered that Hancock was not well known in the United States, he went back to his original title "Year of the Cat".[8]

Cover art[edit]

The cover design, by Hipgnosis and illustrator Colin Elgie, depicts a woman who has an apparent obsession with cats. She can be seen in the mirror dressing up as a cat for a costume party, and all of the items on her dresser have feline motifs.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Al Stewart, except where indicated.

1976 Original LP edition[edit]

Side 1

  1. "Lord Grenville" – 5:00
  2. "On the Border" – 3:22
  3. "Midas Shadow" – 3:08
  4. "Sand in Your Shoes" – 3:02
  5. "If it Doesn't Come Naturally, Leave It" – 4:28

Side 2

  1. "Flying Sorcery" – 4:20
  2. "Broadway Hotel" – 3:55
  3. "One Stage Before" – 4:39
  4. "Year of the Cat" (Stewart, Peter Wood) – 6:40

2004 Remaster bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "On the Border" [live] - 3:48
  2. "Belsize Blues" - 3:30
  3. "Story of the Songs" - 9:42

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

AlbumBillboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1976 Albums 5[9]

Singles – Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1977 "Year of the Cat" Singles 8[9]
"On the Border" Singles 42[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Year of the Cat at AllMusic
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). Rock albums of the '70s: a critical guide. Da Capo Press. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-306-80409-0. 
  3. ^ Woodstra, Chris; John Bush (2008). All Music Guide Required Listening: Classic Rock. Hal Leonard. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-87930-917-6. 
  4. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2001). All music guide: the definitive guide to popular music. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 391. ISBN 978-0-87930-627-4. 
  5. ^ "Lord Grenville". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  6. ^ [1] CIUT’s Barry Livingston’s interview with legendary UK singer/songwriter AL STEWART, Thursday June 16th, 2011 at 7am
  7. ^ Dave Thompson, 1000 Songs that Rock Your World, Krause Publications, Iola, WI (2011). ISBN 978-1-4402-1422-6 p. 142.
  8. ^ Davies, John (2009). Lyrics and limericks. Dartford: Pneuma Springs Pub. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-905809-59-2. OCLC 751047053. 
  9. ^ a b c Strong, Martin Charles; John Peel (2004). The great rock discography. Canongate. p. 1460. ISBN 978-1-84195-615-2.