Tea for the Tillerman

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Tea for the Tillerman
Tea for the Tillerman.jpeg
Studio album by Cat Stevens
Released 23 November 1970
Recorded May–July 1970
Studio Morgan Studios
Island Studios
Olympic Studios, London,
Genre Folk rock
Length 36:49
Label Island (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
Producer Paul Samwell-Smith
Cat Stevens chronology
Mona Bone Jakon
(1970)Mona Bone Jakon1970
Tea for the Tillerman
Teaser and the Firecat
(1971)Teaser and the Firecat1971
Singles from Tea for the Tillerman
  1. "Father and Son"
    Released: 1970
  2. "Wild World"
    Released: September 1970

Tea for the Tillerman is the fourth studio 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's black comedy film Harold and Maude, in 1971. The track "But I Might Die Tonight" was featured in the film Deep End directed by Jerzy Skolimowski in 1970. 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. "Miles From Nowhere" also appeared in the A-Team episode, "Alive at Five" while Templeton Peck is running away.

With "Wild World" as an advance single, this was the album that brought Stevens worldwide 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
No. Title Length
1. "Where Do the Children Play?" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan Studios) 3:52
2. "Hard Headed Woman" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan) 3:47
3. "Wild World" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan) 3:20
4. "Sad Lisa" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan) 3:45
5. "Miles from Nowhere" (Recorded June 1970 at Olympic Studios) 3:37
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "But I Might Die Tonight" (Recorded May 1970 at Island Studios) 1:53
7. "Longer Boats" (Recorded June 1970 at Olympic) 3:12
8. "Into White" (Recorded June 1970 at Olympic) 3:24
9. "On the Road to Find Out" (Recorded May 1970 at Island) 5:08
10. "Father and Son" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan) 3:41
11. "Tea for the Tillerman" (Recorded May 1970 at Island) 1:01

Deluxe Edition[edit]

Disc two[edit]

All tracks written by Cat Stevens.

[8] Deluxe Edition: Disc 2
No. Title Length
1. "Wild World" (Demo) 3:14
2. "Longer Boats" (Recorded: 1 May 1971 at Troubadour Club, Los Angeles) 2:51
3. "Into White" (Recorded: 1 May 1971 at Troubadour Club, Los Angeles) 3:37
4. "Miles from Nowhere" (Demo) 3:14
5. "Hard Headed Woman" (Recorded: 22 July 1974 at Sunplaza Hall, Nakano, Tokyo, Japan) 3:57
6. "Where Do the Children Play?" (Recorded: 22 February 1976 at William & Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia) 3:20
7. "Sad Lisa" (Recorded: 22 February 1976 at William & Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia) 3:13
8. "On the Road to Find Out" (Recorded: 8 June 1971 at KCET PBS TV Full Circle, Los Angeles) 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" (Recorded: 27 November 1971 at BBC 2 TV Broadcast, London, England) 0:50


  • Cat Stevens – classical guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, lead vocals
  • Alun Davies – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Harvey Burns – drums, congas, tambourine
  • John Ryan – double bass
  • Del Newman – string arrangements
  • Jack Rothstein – violin



Year Chart Position
1971 Pop Albums 8[9]


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

In popular culture[edit]

The opening scene to a 2014 episode of The Simpsons titled "Super Franchise Me" parodied the artwork to this album, with the title track playing over it.[10]

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.

The song "Father and Son" is used in the film "The Boat that Rocked".

The song "Father and Son" is used at the end of the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 showing also the cover of the album.

Most of the songs from the album were used in the cult classic film, Harold and Maude starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort.

The song "But I Might Die Tonight" was originally written for the British 1970 film 'Deep End' by Jerzy Skolimowski, in which Stevens had composed the original music. The song's film version differs significantly from the album version.

Cover versions[edit]

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


  1. ^ "Homepage - HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads". 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (10 June 1971). "Consumer Guide (18)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 13 February 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. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear - 2008 Edition". 
  7. ^ "The 200 Definitive Albums Of All Time Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2007 at EIL.COM, home of Esprit International Limited". 
  8. ^ "Cat Stevens – Tour Dates at Majicat". majicat.com. 16 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Cat Stevens > Tea for the Tillerman > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (12 October 2014). "Watch 'The Simpsons' Take on Cat Stevens in Latest Couch Gag". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 October 2014.