The First Cut Is the Deepest

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"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Song by Cat Stevens
from the album New Masters
ReleasedDecember 1967
RecordedOctober 1967
LabelDeram, Decca
Songwriter(s)Cat Stevens
Producer(s)Mike Hurst

"The First Cut Is the Deepest" is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in May 1967. Stevens' own version originally appeared on his album New Masters in December 1967.

The song has been widely recorded and has become a hit single for five different artists: P. P. Arnold (1967), Keith Hampshire (1973), Rod Stewart (1977), Dawn Penn (1994), Papa Dee (1995) and Sheryl Crow (2003).

Cat Stevens version[edit]

Stevens made a demo recording of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" in 1965, but originally hoped to become a songwriter.[1] He wrote the song earlier to promote his songs to other artists, but did not record it as his own performance until early October 1967 with guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, and it did not appear until his second album, New Masters, was released in December 1967. He sold the song for £30 to P.P. Arnold, and it became a huge hit for her,[2] as well as an international hit for Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, and Sheryl Crow. The song has won Stevens songwriting awards, including two consecutive ASCAP songwriting awards for "Songwriter of the Year" in 2005 and 2006.[3]


P. P. Arnold version[edit]

American expatriate singer P. P. Arnold had the first hit with the song, reaching number 18 on the UK Singles Chart[4] with her version in May 1967, well ahead of the song appearing on Stevens' album. The Arnold hit featured an up-tempo, soulful vocal set against harpsichord, horns, and strings. It also appeared in the feature film Seven Psychopaths.

Norma Fraser version[edit]

Jamaican singer Norma Fraser covered the song in 1967 on a Studio One recording released as the A side of the Coxsone label 45 rpm disc CS 7017. Fraser's version was subsequently released on various Studio One compilation LPs and CDs.

Keith Hampshire version[edit]

Keith Hampshire had the first chart-topping hit of the song when his recording of it became a number one hit in Canada in 1973, reaching the top of the RPM 100 national singles chart on 12 May of that year.[5] It also topped the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart.[6] This recording also charted in the US, albeit outside the top 40.

Rod Stewart version[edit]

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
The First Cut Is the Deepest Rod Stewart cover.jpg
Single by Rod Stewart
from the album A Night on the Town
A-side"I Don't Want to Talk About It"
ReleasedFebruary 1977
Format7-inch single
Songwriter(s)Cat Stevens
Producer(s)Tom Dowd
Rod Stewart singles chronology
"I Don't Want to Talk About It"
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
"You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)"

Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, United States, and it appeared on his 1976 album A Night on the Town. It was released as a double A-side single with "I Don't Want to Talk About It". It was a huge success, and spent four weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart in May 1977,[7] number 11 in April in Canada, and also reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. In a departure from the original, Stewart excludes the concluding "But when it comes to being loved, she's first" from the refrain. In 1993, he recorded a live version during a session of MTV Unplugged. This was included on the album Unplugged...and Seated.

Chart performance[edit]

Papa Dee version[edit]

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Papa Dee-The First Cut Is the Deepest.jpg
Single by Papa Dee
from the album The Journey
Songwriter(s)Cat Stevens
Papa Dee singles chronology
"Jungle Sound Clash"
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
"The Journey"
Music video
"The First Cut Is the Deepest on YouTube

Swedish rap, ragga and dancehall musician Papa Dee recorded a reggae cover of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" in 1995. It remains his most commercially successful track and was a big hit in Europe.

Critical reception[edit]

Music & Media wrote about the song: "Dee-lightfully our Swedish Papa tackles the old Cat Stevens hit in a pop dance-infused reggae style with a snappy ragga interlude. Radio, club and dub edits are available too."[15]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[16] 20
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[17] 66
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[18] 38
Norway (VG-lista)[19] 9
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 5

Sheryl Crow version[edit]

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Sheryl Crow - The First Cut Is the Deepest.jpg
Single by Sheryl Crow
from the album The Very Best of Sheryl Crow
Released20 October 2003
GenrePop, pop rock, country
Songwriter(s)Cat Stevens
Producer(s)John Shanks
Sheryl Crow singles chronology
"It's So Easy"
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
"Light in Your Eyes"
Audio sample
Music video
"The First Cut Is the Deepest on YouTube

Sheryl Crow's version of "The First Cut Is The Deepest" is the first single released from her 2003 compilation album The Very Best of Sheryl Crow. It became one of Sheryl's biggest radio hits, remaining 36 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, and was also Sheryl's first Top 40 solo country hit, following the success of her hit duet with Kid Rock, "Picture".[citation needed] The song topped the airplay charts in the US and became a platinum seller, also reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and went to number one on the AC chart for two nonconsecutive weeks.

Sheryl's version appears in the soundtrack of the 2005 romantic comedy film Must Love Dogs. It was also featured during an episode of HBO's The Sopranos and The CW's One Tree Hill, in which she also guest starred.

Music video[edit]

The Sheryl Crow music video for "The First Cut Is the Deepest" was directed by Wayne Isham. Filmed in southern Utah, the video features Sheryl in a rocky desert singing with her guitar, riding horses and interacting in a cowboy environment[21]. Sheryl's single was nominated for a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards,[22] losing to "Sunrise" by Norah Jones.

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2003–04) Peak
Australian ARIA Charts[23] 50
Austrian Singles Chart 31
Brazilian Singles Chart (ABPD)[24] 59
Irish Singles Chart 13
New Zealand RIANZ Charts 19
Poland (ZPAV)[25] 42
UK Singles Chart 37
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 14
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[27] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[28] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[29] 35
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[30] 10

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Rank
US Billboard Hot 100 28


  1. ^ Islam, Yusuf (2008). "Biography 1964". Official Website for Yusuf Islam. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  2. ^ Marrin, Minette (26 September 2004). "Profile: Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens: Not so much a zealot more a lost musician". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
  3. ^ "Yusuf Islam Named Songwriter of the Year at ASCAP Awards in London". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Cat Stevens Biography on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  6. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly".
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 339–40. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ a b "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  9. ^ "i don't want to talk about it/first cut is the deepest | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  10. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  11. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 02, 19YY". Archived from the original on 30 September 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '77 – Volume 28, No. 11, December 31 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  13. ^ "Top 100 1977 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  15. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media (1995-06-24). Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  16. ^ " – Papa Dee – The First Cut Is the Deepest" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. July 29, 1995. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  18. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 NR. 132 Vikuna 26.8. '95 - 1.9. '95" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  19. ^ " – Haddaway – The First Cut Is the Deepest". VG-lista.
  20. ^ " – Haddaway – The First Cut Is the Deepest". Singles Top 100.
  21. ^ "Sheryl Crow - The First Cut Is The Deepest". YouTube. December 23, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  22. ^ [1] Archived 10 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Sheryl Crow - The First Cut Is The Deepest". Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  24. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  25. ^ "Lista Przebojów Trójki - Polskie Radio Online". 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  26. ^ "Sheryl Crow Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Sheryl Crow Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Sheryl Crow Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Sheryl Crow Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "Sheryl Crow Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.

External links[edit]