Cat Stevens was near the height of his career when he nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu in 1976. After shouting for God to save him, a wave washed him ashore. Soon afterwards his brother gave him a copy of the Qur'an, and he became a devout Muslim. Stevens changed his name to Yusuf Islam and completely abandoned his music career. He was largely off the cultural radar until 1989, when he reportedly endorsed the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. He later vehemently denied the charges, but the accusations have severely damaged his reputation every since. In 2006 he returned to secular music and even performed a handful of concerts.
By Andy Greene