A&M Records' Greatest Hits

On the label's 50th anniversary, founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss remember five decades of classic records

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Cat Stevens, 'Tea For The Tillerman' (1970)
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Cat Stevens, 'Tea For The Tillerman' (1970)

Herb Alpert: "The first time I saw Cat Stevens was at [famous L.A. nightclub] the Troubadour. It was like, 'Holy shit, this guy is the real thing!' He was a unique, amazing artist that had that special 'hit' quality; he and his guitar just captured you with his songs. During 'Father and Son,' the audience stood up and gave him a standing ovation – in the middle of the song! People just didn't do that. He had tremendous appeal."

Moss: "Tea for the Tillerman absolutely exploded: it was a huge, amazing record. In 1970, between that album, Carole King and the Carpenters, we were really flying! Tillerman immediately went to Number One, and dominated both AM and FM radio. It was an incredible period, in the midst of the Vietnam War, with a country divided; the music played a big part in giving us some emotion about how we felt about what's going on. Cat Stevens songs like 'Wild World' really connected with that spirit: they occupied that space in a very important and influential way, but were also just so appealing. You could reside in 'Wild World' in a real sense."

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