Tea for the Tillerman

Tea for the Tillerman is the fourth studio album by singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, released in November 1970.

Tea for the Tillerman
Tea for the Tillerman.jpeg
Studio album by
Released23 November 1970
RecordedMay–July 1970
GenreFolk rock
LabelIsland (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
ProducerPaul Samwell-Smith
Cat Stevens chronology
Mona Bone Jakon
Tea for the Tillerman
Teaser and the Firecat
Singles from Tea for the Tillerman
  1. "Father and Son"
    Released: 1970
  2. "Wild World"
    Released: September 1970


Stevens' second album released during the year 1970, Tea for the Tillerman includes many of his best-known songs such as "Where Do the Children Play?", "Hard Headed Woman", "Wild World", "Sad Lisa", "Into White", and "Father and Son".

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 worldwide fame.[citation needed] The album itself charted into the top 10 in the United States.

In November 2008, a "Deluxe Edition" was released featuring a second disc of demos and live recordings. In January 2012, a hi-res 24/192 kHz version was remastered using an Ampex ATR100 and a MSB Technology Studio ADC and released on HDtracks.com.[1]

Fifty years later, in September 2020, Stevens remade the album as Tea for the Tillerman2, including new lyrics and new instrumentation, and he sings along with his 22-year-old self in "Father and Son".[2]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [5]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau found the music monotonous and lacking the "dry delicacy" Stevens exhibited on Mona Bone Jakon (1970).[6] Rolling Stone magazine's Ben Gerson said that Stevens' songs effortlessly resonate beyond their artfully simple lyrics and hooks, despite his occasional overuse of dynamics "for dramatic effect."[7]

In a retrospective five-star review, AllMusic's William Ruhlmann praised Stevens' themes of spirituality and transcendence, and felt that he had continued to show his ability as a pop melodicist: "As a result, Tea for the Tillerman became a big seller and, for the second time in four years, its creator became a pop star."[8] On 18 November 2003, Rolling Stone included this album in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list at number 206,[9] number 208 in a 2012 revised list,[10] and currently at number 205 on its latest list published in 2020. In 2006, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[11] In 2007, the album was included in the list of "The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time", released by The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[12] It was voted number 342 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[13]

Track listingEdit

All songs were written by Cat Stevens.

Original releaseEdit

Side one
1."Where Do the Children Play?" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan Studios)3:52
2."Hard Headed Woman" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan)3:47
3."Wild World" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan)3:20
4."Sad Lisa" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan)3:45
5."Miles from Nowhere" (Recorded June 1970 at Olympic Studios)3:37
Side two
1."But I Might Die Tonight" (Recorded May 1970 at Island Studios)1:53
2."Longer Boats" (Recorded June 1970 at Olympic)3:12
3."Into White" (Recorded June 1970 at Olympic)3:24
4."On the Road to Find Out" (Recorded May 1970 at Island)5:08
5."Father and Son" (Recorded July 1970 at Morgan)3:41
6."Tea for the Tillerman" (Recorded May 1970 at Island)1:01

Deluxe EditionEdit

Disc oneEdit

Original album.

Disc twoEdit

All tracks are written by Cat Stevens.

Deluxe Edition: Disc 2[14]
1."Wild World" (Demo)3:14
2."Longer Boats" (Recorded: 1 May 1971 at Troubadour Club, Los Angeles)2:51
3."Into White" (Recorded: 1 May 1971 at Troubadour Club, Los Angeles)3:37
4."Miles from Nowhere" (Demo)3:14
5."Hard Headed Woman" (Recorded: 22 July 1974 at Sunplaza Hall, Nakano, Tokyo, Japan)3:57
6."Where Do the Children Play?" (Recorded: 22 February 1976 at William & Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia)3:20
7."Sad Lisa" (Recorded: 22 February 1976 at William & Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia)3:13
8."On the Road to Find Out" (Recorded: 8 June 1971 at KCET PBS TV Full Circle, Los Angeles)4:57
9."Father and Son" (Yusuf's Café Sessions)4:25
10."Wild World" (Yusuf's Café Sessions)3:03
11."Tea for the Tillerman" (Recorded: 27 November 1971 at BBC 2 TV Broadcast, London, England)0:50


On 28 May 2020, Yusuf announced his new album, Tea for the Tillerman2, which was released on 18 September 2020. Tea for the Tillerman2 is a reimagining of "the same eleven songs for a new age with dramatic results", celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tea for the Tillerman.


  • Cat Stevens – classical guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, lead vocals
  • Alun Davies – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Harvey Burns – drums, congas, tambourine
  • John Ryan – double bass
  • Del Newmanstring arrangements
  • Jack Rothstein (as John Rostein) – solo violin



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[25] Platinum 70,000^
France (SNEP)[26] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[27] Platinum 500,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[28] Gold 7,500 
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[30] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

In popular cultureEdit

The closing title track of the British sitcom Extras is "Tea for the Tillerman", which is written and performed by Cat Stevens and is the title track of his album Tea for the Tillerman.

The opening scene to a 2014 episode of The Simpsons titled "Super Franchise Me" parodied the artwork to this album, with the title track playing over it.[31]

A previously unreleased version of "But I Might Die Tonight", was used in the 1970 film Deep End in the opening and closing scenes. The version of the song used in the film was eventually released in 2020.[32]

Four of the songs from this album were used in the 1971 film Harold and Maude: "Tea for the Tillerman"; "Where Do the Children Play"; "Miles from Nowhere" and "On the Road to Find Out".

The song "Father and Son", was used in the closing scene of the 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.[33] The song is also featured in the 2009 film The Boat That Rocked.[34]


  1. ^ "Tea for the Tillerman". HDtracks.com. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  2. ^ Boilen, Bob. "Yusuf Cat Stevens on Remaking 'Tea for the Tillerman' 50 Years Later". All Songs Considered. NPR. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  3. ^ Tea for the Tillerman at AllMusic
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (10 June 1971). "Consumer Guide (18)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  7. ^ Gerson, Ben (18 February 1971). "Cat Stevens Tea for the Tillerman > Review". Rolling Stone (76). Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2006.
  8. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Tea for the Tillerman at AllMusic. Retrieved 11 March 2005.
  9. ^ Levy, Joe; Van Zandt, Steven. "206 | Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2005.
  10. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  11. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear". rocklistmusic.co.uk. 2008.
  12. ^ "The 200 Definitive Albums Of All Time Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2007". Esprit International Limited.
  13. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 136. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  14. ^ "Cat Stevens – Tour Dates at Majicat". majicat.com. 16 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  15. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 293. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  16. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Charts.nz – Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  19. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Cat Stevens | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Cat Stevens Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  24. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1971". Billboard. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  26. ^ "French album certifications – Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 30 November 2021. Select CAT STEVENS and click OK. 
  27. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Cat Stevens; 'Tea For The Tillerman')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  28. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 June 2019.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Tea For The Tillerman in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  31. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (12 October 2014). "Watch 'The Simpsons' Take on Cat Stevens in Latest Couch Gag". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  32. ^ "Deep End". catstevens.com.
  33. ^ "Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2 tracklist released, featuring ELO and Fleetwood Mac". The Independent. 19 April 2017.
  34. ^ "Pirate Radio (2009) Soundtrack". IMDb.