Meeting Cat Stevens

Everyone’s had their brush with fame, or at least with famous people. My personal biggest to date occurred in Bangladesh in 1976 or ’77, when Cat Stevens came to give a lot of money to UNICEF, and to visit some of the projects he was funding in various parts of Bangladesh. (I guess this was just before he officially converted to Islam.)

There wasn’t a lot going on in Dhaka in those days, and a famous person even landing in the country was huge news. It happened that a friend of the family, part of our usual weekend music group, was a huge Cat Stevens fan. He learned Stevens’ travel schedule, and showed up at the airport every time Stevens and his entourage of one (his lead guitarist) passed through. Eventually, our friend managed to invite them over for an evening.

The result was a private concert, for about 30 of us, at someone’s house in Dhaka. I was already familiar with many of the songs, and was surprised that the two of them alone sounded just like they did on the albums, without benefit of the rest of the band or any studio mixing. Cat Stevens also looked just like his album covers, with the long curly hair and beard. He did sing one song I hadn’t heard before,”My Lady d’Arbanville.”

I don’t know if anyone got any pictures with him, but I definitely didn’t, so all I have is the memory and the story to tell. And there you have it.

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