Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, on tour after 33 years

Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:42am EST
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By Douglas MacLaurin

LONDON (Reuters) - British folk singer Yusuf Islam takes the stage on Sunday on his first full tour since 1976, when he was still known as Cat Stevens and was famous the world over for hits like "Wild World" and "Morning Has Broken."

Now 61, Islam is about to seal his gradual comeback to the world of pop music after disappearing from the scene altogether following his conversion to Islam in 1977.

He has made sporadic stage appearances around the world in recent years, recorded a new pop album "An Other Cup" in 2006 and followed it up with "Roadsinger" earlier this year.

The singer said his recent recordings had encouraged him to embark on his first tour in 33 years.

"Thirty-three years is a long time, and I suppose I never imagined that I'd be going back on tour again," he told Reuters at Elstree Studios in London where he has been rehearsing for his four-date tour.

"But things change and when I started to make music again and making records the yearning came to ... do it for real. When you're live it's that much more vibrant, and you're that much closer to the audience ... You can't beat that kind of music."

Being on stage was an important antidote to recording, Islam said, noting the technological advances since his chart-topping heyday in the early 1970s.

"Everything has become a bit more digitalized. It's a cut-and-paste job now, you can do it on a laptop.   Continued...