Yusuf/Cat Stevens Celebrates George Harrison’s 80th Birthday With ‘Here Comes the Sun’ Cover
Yusuf (f.k.a Cat Stevens) is celebrating what would have been George Harrison’s 80th birthday this week with a new cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road classic “Here Comes the Sun.”
The release marks the start of a new partnership between Yusuf and Dark Horse Records, the boutique record label Harrison founded, and his son Dhani continues to run with David Zonshine. Yusuf’s rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” also arrives with some suitably sunny cover art designed by the singer-songwriter’s eight-year-old granddaughter.
In a statement, Yusuf spoke about Harrison’s influence on his own musical and spiritual endeavors. He recalled first reading the Buddhist book, The Secret Path, while hospitalized with tuberculosis in the late Sixties, around the same time Harrison was starting to explore Eastern mysticism as well.
“While most of my generation were just into the music, I was a bit like George, where music became the key to something much higher,” Yusuf said. “Following the rages of the 60s, his consciousness was awakened, and George transcended to levels not many people ever get to experience. You can hear it in his lyrics, and see it in the way he lived and dealt with the material world — looking for a way out.”
Yusuf added: “George was one of the first to put on a charity concert for the poor, at the time millions of Bangladeshis were fleeing from conflict and becoming refugees. It was a brave thing to do, and against all establishment rules. I’m happy to sing one of his songs, especially as it represents the returning of light and hope to a seriously dark and broken world.”
As for Yusuf’s new partnership with Dark Horse, the singer-songwriter does have a new album in the works, though an official release date hasn’t been announced. In the meantime, Dark Horse will re-release seven legacy albums from the Yusuf/Cat Stevens catalog, all owned by Yusuf’s Cat-O-Log Records.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Yusuf/Cat Stevens to the Dark Horse Records family,” Dhani Harrison said. “Not only is Yusuf a great musical legend but his songs could not fit the Dark Horse mythos any better. From his back catalogue, through to the new music we can’t wait for you to hear. Yusuf is without question one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time, it is a great honour to be able to give his music a home on our humble yet historic label.”