Izitso

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Izitso
Cat Stevens Izitso.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1977[1]
Recorded18 September 1976 – March 1977,
Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Sheffield, Alabama;
Sound 80 Studios, Minneapolis;
Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee;
Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada
Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
GenreSoft rock, folk rock, blue-eyed soul, electronic rock, synthpop
Length35:55
LabelIsland (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
ProducerCat Stevens
David Kershenbaum
Cat Stevens chronology
Numbers
(1975)
Izitso
(1977)
Back to Earth
(1978)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]
Rolling StonePositive[3]

Izitso is the tenth studio album released by the British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) in April 1977. After the lacklustre Numbers, the album proved to be his comeback. The album updated the rhythmic folk rock and pop rock style of his earlier albums with the extensive use of synthesizers[4] and other electronic music instruments,[5] giving the album a more electronic rock and synthpop style,[6] and anticipating elements of electro.[7]

Overview[edit]

Upon its release, the music magazine Rolling Stone praised the album for blending together elements of folk rock and electronic music, "often in apparent opposition to each other", with "the diversity and the maturity to match this seeming incongruity."[3] The album reached No. 7 on the American Pop Albums charts.[4]

It also included his last US and UK top 40 chart hit for almost three decades, "(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard", an early synthpop song[6] that used a polyphonic synthesizer; it was a duet with fellow UK singer Elkie Brooks.[5] Linda Lewis appears in the song's video, with Cat Stevens singing to her, as they portray former schoolmates, singing to each other on a schoolyard merry-go-round. (This is one of the few music videos that Stevens made, other than simple videos of concert performances.)

The song "Child for a Day" was featured in the 1977 film First Love, starring Susan Dey and William Katt.

The song "Was Dog a Doughnut?" upon release was criticised for sounding "a bit too robotlike"[3] but has since been considered one of the first electro, or techno-pop, songs ever recorded,[7] with elements later associated with hip hop music. The track made early use of a music sequencer along with synthesizers.[6]

The song "(I Never Wanted) To Be a Star" references the transition phase happening in his life, as he was growing more and more resentful of the more commercial aspects of the music industry. The lyrics make references to four of his early songs: "Matthew and Son", "I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun", "A Bad Night", and "I Think I See the Light".

Additional information[edit]

Some of the album's unreleased tracks featured Ringo Starr on the drums, during a recording session on 30 September 1976. According to The Beatles biographer Kristofer Engelhardt in 1998, "Yusuf said that he met Ringo at a hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, and invited him down to a recording session for his album Izitso at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen. He recalled that the party atmosphere of the sessions led to a jam of him singing 'Blue Monday' and 'I Just Want to Make Love to You,' with Ringo joining in on drums."[8] Bootleg copies of the sessions exist, and are highly prized among collectors.[citation needed]

Stevens, who had a strong interest in Islam prior to recording the album, formally converted to Islam later in the year and adopted the name Yusuf Islam in 1978, by which time the album Back to Earth would be released and Islam had essentially retired from the music business,[9] vowing to never perform any of his music from before 1977 for nearly 30 years.

A piano/vocal sheet music book with every song from the album was published in 1977, approved by Stevens, with arrangements by Los Angeles musician Laddie Chapman.

Track listing[edit]

(All tracks composed by Cat Stevens, except where indicated)

Side one

  1. "(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard" – 2:44 (duet with Elkie Brooks)
  2. "Life" – 4:56
  3. "Killin' Time" – 3:30
  4. "Kypros" [instr] – 3:10
  5. "Bonfire" – 4:10

Side two

  1. "(I Never Wanted) To Be a Star" – 3:03
  2. "Crazy" – 3:33
  3. "Sweet Jamaica" – 3:31
  4. "Was Dog a Doughnut?" [instr] (Stevens, Bruce Lynch, Jean Roussel) – 4:15
  5. "Child for a Day" (Paul Travis, David Gordon) – 4:23

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1977 Pop Albums 7

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1977 (Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard Pop Singles 33
1977 (Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard Easy Listening 28
1977 Was Dog A Doughnut Pop Singles 70

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[10] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[11] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Izitso". connollyco.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ a b c Walters, Charley (28 July 1977). "Cat Stevens: Izitso". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Izitso". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Cat Stevens – Izitso". A&M Records. Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Cat Stevens – Izitso". Island Records. Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b David Toop (March 1996), "A-Z of Electro", The Wire (145), retrieved 29 May 2011
  8. ^ "CAT STEVENS & RINGO STARR JAM SESSION". Majicat. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  9. ^ Reiter, Amy (14 August 1999). "People: Cat Stevens". Salon. p. 2. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  10. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Cat Stevens – Izitso". Music Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  11. ^ "British album certifications – Cat Stevens – Izitso". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 June 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Izitso in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.