Yusuf Islam formerly Cat Stevens
The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens on the Danny Baker Show
He has sold over 60 million records and at the height of his fame he gave up his pop career to live a life dedicated to Islam, education and charity but Yusuf Islam says he never abandoned music.
Yusuf Islam formerly known as Cat Stevens was Danny Baker's very special guest on Thursday 29th March.
He has sold millions of albums over his career. Born in London as Stephen Demetre Georgiou, he changed his name to Cat Stevens thinking his Greek surname would hinder his pop career.
His first hit records came in the late 1960s but in 1968 he became very ill with tuberculosis and this forced him to reconsider his pop star lifestyle. His recovery from the disease forced him to stop touring and recording for over a year.
In 1975 after a near death experience in Malibu where he nearly drowned Cat Stevens intensified his spiritual search. After his brother gave him a copy of the Qur'an he moved closer to Islam and in 1978 Cat Stevens converted to Islam taking the name Yusuf Islam the following year.
Soon after he withdrew from his pop music career to dedicate himself to education and philanthropy. In 1981 Yusuf Islam founded the Islamia Primary School in Salisbury Road in Kilburn, London.
In recent years he has returned to making music notably recording a version of Father And Son with Ronan Keating for the charity Band Aid (Yusuf Islam actually came out of retirement to play Live Aid in 1985 but never made it on stage as Elton John over ran into his slot) and in 2006 forty years on from his first debut album he released a new record titled An Other Cup.
last updated: 22/06/07