Mona Bone Jakon only began Cat Stevens' comeback. Seven months later, he returned with Tea for the Tillerman, an album in the same chamber-group style, employing the same musicians and producer, but with a far more confident tone…
Tea for the Tillerman is a highly-regarded album by singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. This album, Stevens' second during 1970, includes many of Stevens' most memorable and beloved songs by his fans, 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' black comedy film entitled Harold and Maude, in 1971, gaining Stevens more fans long afterward. The track "But I Might Die Tonight" was featured on another 1971 film: Deep End by Jerzy Skolimowski. Stevens, a former art student, created the artwork featured on the record's cover. With "Wild World" as an advance single, this was the album that brought Stevens world-wide fame. The album itself charted into the top 10 in the United States, where he had previously had few listeners.
Cat Stevens' recording career spanned 12 years from October 1966 to November 1978, recording 11 albums. His most creative period was whilst he recorded Tea For The Tillerman and Teaser And The Firecat. With the hit single Wild World entering the US charts in 1971, Cat Stevens flew to America where this intimate concert was recorded. This rare classic performance captures the warmth of his studio recordings, with passion and depth.
Between 1970 and 1972, Cat Stevens recorded four albums in the same manner, using the same producer and many of the same musicians, painting the album covers, and assigning the records ponderous titles. Things changed with his next album, Foreigner.
Cat Stevens virtually disappeared from the British pop scene in 1968, at the age of 20, after a meteoric start to his career. He had contracted tuberculosis and spent a year recovering, from both his illness and the strain of being a teenage pop star, before returning to action in the spring of 1970 — as a very different 22-year-old — with Mona Bone Jakon.
In retrospect, it is not hard to find hints of a coming change in the final album Cat Stevens made before a near-death experience and a religious conversion.