#48: Peace Train: Cat Stevens: 1971.
Peace Train is another song from Cat Stevens’ 1971 Teaser and the Firecat album. Stevens’ said the idea came to him whilst riding on a train and it is another of those songs with lyrics that speak a timeless message; the call for peace and unity. In the US it rose to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
To understand the popularity of the song one might need to understand a little of the history of 1971; it was a significant year. In 1971 The People’s Republic of China was admitted to the UN, in Switzerland, women were given the right to vote, Greenpeace was established, the space race between U.S.S.R. and US continued, as did the Cold War. It was a year of earthquakes and tsunami, and hot wars in India and Pakistan, IRA bombings and rioting and of course, the Vietnam War. Australia and New Zealand announced they would begin to pull their troops out of Vietnam, while in America opinion polls stated that 60% of the people were against US involvement in the Vietnam War. This led to the 26th Amendment of the US Constitution in 1971 which lowered the voting age to 18 years of age and subsequently led to the complete withdrawl of US troops from Vietnam by March 1973. You can read all about 1971 at https://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1971.html
Peace Train became one of the songs listed as a protest song which spread the message of Peace not War, a common catch cry of the 60s &70s. But it is not really a political protest song, but rather one of hope that there might be better days to come and that the peace train just might be sounding louder and getting closer. Of the song, Stevens said, “Peace Train is a song I wrote, the message of which continues to breeze thunderously through the hearts of millions. There is a powerful need for people to feel that gust of hope rise up again.”
So here we are a half century later and we live in uncertain times of wars and rumours of wars, of natural disasters of civil unrest and news of famine and plague. Yet the Peace Train still rides. It calls us all to be peacemakers, to be partakers in the Peace that comes from heaven. That Peace Train might still be out on the edge of darkness and it needs brave people, people full of hope and trust to bring it into the Light.
Just a call out for Playing for Change who also have a cover of Peace Train which is worth listening to. And a mention of Cat Stevens’ childrens’ book The Peace Train; just another example of good messages that never die.
Blessed are the Peacemakers.