Hear: Cat Stevens’ New ‘Laughing Apple’ Album

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Cat Stevens in the ’70s

In 1967, Cat Stevens released a song called “The Laughing Apple” as a B-side to a single from his second album, New Masters. (That album is perhaps best known for featuring his song “The First Cut is the Deepest,” which ultimately became a hit for such classic rock acts as Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow.) “The Laughing Apple” featured such lyrics as:

Well, I’ve travelled the mountains, and I’ve travelled the sea
But never in my travelling days
Have I ever seen a little apple smile at me!
Laugh, oh laugh a little apple

And while Stevens earned early acclaim in his native England, it would be several more years before his skill as a songwriter developed and he began to achieve worldwide success with such breakout 1970s singles as “Wild World,” “Moonshadow” and “Peace Train.”

Stevens’ artwork for “See What Love Did To Me”

Now, Stevens–also known as Yusuf Islam–has recorded an album called The Laughing Apple–released Sept. 15–which features original songs and covers, though the covers on this album are his own. As the announcement states: “He celebrates some of his earliest material, with new presentations of the songs. Conceptually, The Laughing Apple returns to the journey of the Tillerman, as he recalls his travels and life lessons to a younger generation. The album’s cover features Yusuf’s own illustration, the first time he has designed one of his covers since 1972. Yusuf has drawn additional works of art for each of the 11 songs on The Laughing Apple.”

A first single, “See What Love Did To Me,” was released on July 20. He explains the song’s genesis on his website:

“‘See What Love Did To Me’ is a song which extolls the virtue of Love and its destructive properties. Based on a poem written by Yunus Emre, a 13th Century Turkish poet. I fell upon the guitar riff back in 2006, while recording An Other Cup. It took eight years to find the right words and sentiments to marry with the joyous tune. It has musical ripples of Africa as well as India flowing through.”

Listen to “See What Love Did To Me”

Stevens released a lyric video for his beautiful, updated version of “Blackness of the Night.” The song was originally included on his 1967 New Masters album.

On August 18, Stevens shared another song, “Mary and the Little Lamb,” which had previously only existed as a demo.

Stevens’ The Laughing Apple album was released Sept. 15 on his own Cat-O-Log label via Decca Records. Order the CD or vinyl.

The Laughing Apple Track Listing

Blackness of the Night
See What Love Did To Me
The Laughing Apple
Olive Hill
Mighty Peace
Mary and the Little Lamb
You Can Do (Whatever)!
Northern Wind (Death of Billy the Kid)
Don’t Blame Them
I’m So Sleepy

Listen to “You Can Do (Whatever)!”

The album’s release continues Stevens’ comeback. He had a well-received retrospective tour of the U.S. in Fall 2016, dubbed “A Cat’s Attic,” which, in 2017, he took to South Africa for several shows in November and then Australia and New Zealand at year’s end.

Related: Our review of Stevens’ September 9, 2016, New York City concert

Listen to the original 1967 version of “The Laughing Apple”

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Best Classic Bands Staff

2 Comments so far

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  1. Captain Johnny
    #1 Captain Johnny 27 July, 2017, 04:36

    I listened to Cat (Yusuf) all the way through the late ’60’s to mid ’70’s…and had the great pleasure of recording one of his songs “The Joke” for Polydor Records in 1971…I am a big fan!

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  2. Catfan5419
    #2 Catfan5419 25 August, 2017, 07:57

    Wow.. That song by cat was never released until his boxset

    Reply this comment

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