Teaser and the Firecat

Teaser and the Firecat is the fifth studio album by Cat Stevens, released in October 1971.

Teaser and the Firecat
Studio album by
Released1 October 1971[1]
RecordedJuly 1970 – March 1971
Studio
  • Paramount, Los Angeles
  • Morgan, London
GenreFolk-pop[2]
Length32:39
LabelIsland (UK/Europe)
A&M (US/Canada)
ProducerPaul Samwell-Smith
Cat Stevens chronology
Tea for the Tillerman
(1970)
Teaser and the Firecat
(1971)
Catch Bull at Four
(1972)
Singles from Teaser and the Firecat
  1. "Moonshadow"
    Released: September 1970 (UK); June 1971 (US)
  2. "Peace Train"
    Released: 1971 (worldwide); September 1971 (US)
  3. "Morning Has Broken"
    Released: 1972

At the Australian 1972 King of Pop Awards the album won Biggest Selling LP.[3]

Overview

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The album contains 10 songs, including the hits "Morning Has Broken", "Moonshadow" and "Peace Train". It is also the title of a children's book written and illustrated by Stevens. The story features the title characters from the album cover, top-hatted young Teaser and his pet, Firecat, who attempt to put the moon back in its place after it falls from the sky. Published in 1972, the book has been out of print since the mid-1970s.

The album was a commercial success, surpassing the heights achieved by Stevens' previous album, Tea for the Tillerman, reaching both the UK and US top 3 and also spending fifteen weeks at the top of the Australian charts, becoming the biggest-selling album of the country in 1972.

In 1977 an animated version, narrated by comedian Spike Milligan, using the song "Moonshadow", was a segment in Fantastic Animation Festival. In November 2008, a "deluxe edition" was released featuring a second disc of demos and live recordings.

English keyboardist Rick Wakeman played piano on "Morning Has Broken" and English musician Linda Lewis contributed vocals on "How Can I Tell You".

Critical reception

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Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [4]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, music critic Timothy Crouse praised Stevens' distinctive musical style and introspective songs such as "Tuesday's Dead" and "The Wind", but felt that he lacks Van Morrison's evocative quality and James Taylor's refined lyrics: "Cat has become a dependable artist, a good artist, but he appears to be one of those composers who does not develop, who holds no surprises."[5]

In a retrospective five-star review, AllMusic's William Ruhlmann found the album more simplistic lyrically and musically entertaining than Tea for the Tillerman (1970): "Teaser and the Firecat was the Cat Stevens album that gave more surface pleasures to more people, which in pop music is the name of the game."[6] It was voted number 539 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[7]

Track listing

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All tracks are written by Cat Stevens, except "Morning Has Broken" (traditional; arranged and adapted by Stevens with additional lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon).

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."The Wind"1:42
2."Rubylove"2:37
3."If I Laugh"3:20
4."Changes IV"3:32
5."How Can I Tell You"4:24
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Tuesday's Dead"3:36
2."Morning Has Broken"3:20
3."Bitterblue"3:12
4."Moonshadow"2:52
5."Peace Train"4:04

Personnel

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Musicians

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Adapted from liner notes of 2021 CD reissue. [8]

  • Cat Stevens – acoustic guitar (all tracks), vocals (all tracks), tambourine (tracks 2, 9 & 10), piano (tracks 4 & 9), percussion (tracks 4, 8 to 10), harpsichord (track 5), marimba (track 6), organ (tracks 6 to 8), harmonium (track 7), vibraphone (track 8)
  • Alun Davies – acoustic guitar (tracks 1, 3 to 6, 8 to 10), backing vocals (tracks 1, 3 to 6, 8 to 10), claves (track 4), autoharp (track 10), handclaps (track 10)
  • Larry Steele – bass (tracks 2, 4 to 8, 10), percussion (tracks 4 & 6), handclaps (track 4), backing vocals (tracks 4 & 7)
  • John Ryan - bass (track 3)
  • Gerry Conway – drums and percussion (tracks 4, 6, 8), additional drums (track 10)
  • Harvey Burns – drums and percussion (tracks 3 & 10)
  • Linda Lewis – backing vocals (track 2), solo girl's voice (track 5)
  • Jean Alain Roussel - Hammond organ (track 10)
  • Andy Roberts – guitar & Kriwaczek string organ (track 5)[9]
  • Rick Wakeman – Hammond organ (track 3), piano (track 7)[10]
  • Andreas Toumazis – bouzouki (track 2)
  • Angelos Hatzipavli – bouzouki (track 2)
  • Paul Samwell-Smith - finger cymbals (track 1), backing vocals (tracks 2 to 4, 9)
  • Del Newmanstring arrangements (track 10)

Technical

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Charts

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Weekly charts

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Chart (1971/72) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 1
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company) 2
United States (Billboard 200)[14] 2
Chart (2021) Peak
position
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 67

Year-end charts

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Chart (1972) Position
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[16] 33

Certifications

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Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[17] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[18] Platinum 500,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[19] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

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

References

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  1. ^ "Teaser and the Firecat". MTV Networks. 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  2. ^ Molanphy, Chris (12 February 2021). "The AC/DC Rule Edition". Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia (Podcast). Slate. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  3. ^ "Australian Music Awards". Ron Jeff. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  4. ^ Teaser and the Firecat at AllMusic
  5. ^ Crouse, Tim (9 December 1971). "Cat Stevens Teaser and the Firecat > Review". Rolling Stone. No. 97. Archived from the original on 21 November 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  6. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Teaser and the Firecat at AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2005.
  7. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2006). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 185. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  8. ^ "Cat Stevens - Teaser and the Firecat". Discogs. 19 August 2023.
  9. ^ "Andy Roberts Music: Collaborations". www.andyrobertsmusic.com.
  10. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  11. ^ Athas, Peter Adrastos (17 September 2014). "Album Cover Art Wednesday: Teaser and the Firecat". First Draft.
  12. ^ "Private Site". lpcover.wordpress.com.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Cat Stevens > Teaser and the Firecat > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic
  15. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat". Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. 1972. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Les Certifications depuis 1973: Albums". Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 11 June 2019. (select "Cat Stevens" from drop-down list)
  18. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Cat Stevens; 'Teaser and the Firecat')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  19. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards ('Teaser')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  20. ^ "British album certifications – Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 June 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Teaser and the Firecat in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  21. ^ "American album certifications – Cat Stevens – Teaser". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
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