Back to Earth (Cat Stevens album)

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Back to Earth
Studio album by Cat Stevens
Released 3 December 1978
Recorded November 1978,
Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark;
Le Studio, Morin Heights, Canada;
Advision Studios, London, England;
CBS Studios, New York City;
Longview Farms, North Brookfield, Massachusetts
Genre Soft rock
Length 32:51
Label Island (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
Producer Paul Samwell-Smith
Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens chronology
Back to Earth
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]

Back to Earth is the eleventh studio album released by the British singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. It's the only album he recorded using the name Cat Stevens after his conversion to Islam in December 1977 (until the release almost 40 years later (in September 2017) of The Laughing Apple, his fifteenth studio album credited to "Cat Stevens/Yusuf"). It was also the last album of contemporary western music that he recorded until An Other Cup, nearly 30 years later.[2]


On 8 December 1977 Stevens was awarded the "Sun Peace Award" by the Symphony for the United Nations in New York City. On 23 December 1977 Stevens entered the Regent's Park Mosque in London and formally embraced Islam.

On 4 July 1978, Steven Georgiou changed his name to Yusuf Islam. Although he wanted to retire from popular music after his religious conversion, Islam owed his record company Island/A&M one more "Cat Stevens" album under his recording contract.[3]

Yusuf recorded this album in November 1978, re-uniting with his producer from the early 1970s, Paul Samwell-Smith, and arranger Del Newman, which includes his guitarist, Alun Davies, also his drummer Gerry Conway, neither of whom had appeared on Stevens' previous 1977 album "Izitso". Alun co–wrote two new songs. The old team had now come back together to complete the final record. Recorded in several places including Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Longview Farms in Massachusetts, Advision in London, and CBS in New York City, the album was completed at Le Studio in Quebec.

At this point, Yusuf was praying five times daily and the sessions took on a melancholy edge, as it was implicitly understood that they were to be the last. On 3 December 1978, the album Back to Earth was released. The same day the album was released, Yusuf's father Stavros Georgiou died. As he was unwilling to promote the album Back to Earth with a tour, it peaked at only No. 33 on the Billboard charts, and its singles "Bad Brakes"/"Nascimento", and "Randy"/"Nascimento" made a poor showing in the charts. The UK single release, "Last Love Song"/"Nascimento", released on Island in February 1979, similarly failed to chart. It has been the last singer's album for 28 years, when "An Other Cup" was released in 2006. In the US "Back to Earth" was awarded with a platinum record.

The album features a return to the acoustic guitar sound of Stevens' early 1970s albums like Tea for the Tillerman. Two of the songs, "Just Another Night" and "Last Love Song", express bitterness about how he was treated by the music industry, with lyrics such as "If you don't want me, maybe I don't want you."[4] However, in the song Never, Stevens hints that he may return to music someday, "There's going to be another time; there's going to be another moment." 27 years later, after his retirement, he would return to popular music.

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Cat Stevens, except where noted:

Side one[edit]

  1. "Just Another Night" – 3:49
  2. "Daytime" (Stevens, Alun Davies) – 3:55
  3. "Bad Brakes" (Stevens, Davies) – 3:27
  4. "Randy" – 3:12
  5. "The Artist" – 2:32

Side two[edit]

  1. "Last Love Song" – 3:27
  2. "Nascimento" – 3:16
  3. "Father" – 4:08
  4. "New York Times" – 3:24
  5. "Never" – 3:01