#47: Morning Has Broken: Cat Stevens: 1971
We have looked at Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan and now it is time to turn to Cat Stevens, a contemporary of that time and another great song writer. Steven Demetre Georgiou was born in July 1948 in London. By the late 1960s and into the 70s he had established himself as a talented musician spanning styles of folk, pop and rock music using his stage name of Cat Stevens.
Our song for today comes from Cat Stevens’ 1971 Teaser and The Firecat album. Morning Has Broken is adapted from a traditional Christian hymn written by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931. Stevens was in a bookstore looking for songs which were in the public domain that might give him inspiration for a couple of spots he needed to fill on his new album when he stumbled across these lyrics. Stevens put his own twist on the music and now almost anyone would associate Morning Has Broken with Cat Stevens before making a connection to Eleanor Farjeon.
It is a wonderful song of praise and awe for the glory of the creator God who brings to us each morning the wonder of a new day; the recreation of the first day. If we could just grasp some of the magnificance of that, we might treasure our new days and spend them in more joy and kindness, thankful for the blessing that each new day brings. In addition to the lyrics, the piano sections of the track, played by Rick Wakeman, of band YES fame, invite us into a place of enthralling and rolling beauty.
In 1977 Cat Stevens converted to Islam, a year later changed his name to Yusuf Islam and retired from the commercial music industry. In the late 1990s he made a bit of a comeback and along with some new spiritual songs he has performed some of his old songs which made him famous as Cat Stevens. Morning Has Broken is among them.
We will visit a couple more of his famous songs before we move on from Cat Stevens/ Yusuf Islam but for today I hope you will enjoy the timeless beauty of this song. And tomorrow morning when you rise, when your morning has broken, may you thank God for the blessing of a new day.
Simply beautiful, passionate, timeless, enthralling. Thank you Cat Stevens and Eleanor Farjeon.
It is a song that takes me to that “place in my heart where church is always on.”