Cat Steven’s “Wild World” was her first American hit, peaking at # 11 on the Billboard Top 40 charts in March 1971. But it turns out that the real meaning behind this song is not what most people assume. What is it. Stevens (born Steven Georgiou and known as Yusef Islam since 1979 after becoming Muslim) finally revealed what the song was about just a couple of years ago.
Originally, some people understandably assumed the song from Stevens’ two-year relationship with American actress and model Patti D’Arbanville. This is understandable given that Stevens’ previous album Mona Bone Jakon begins with a song titled “Lady D’Arbanville,” which is full of images about a lady the singer loves who is now “dead.” The real truth about the song was told by Stevens / Islam himself while he was a guest on Chris Isaak Time in 2009. In Islam’s own words:
“I was trying to relate to my life. I was at the point where it was starting to happen and I was going into the world myself. I had done my career before, and it was warning me to be careful this time around, because it was happening. It wasn’t me writing about someone specific, although other people may have reported the song, but it was more about me. It’s about losing touch with home and reality, especially home. “
Here are some other facts about the song that you may find interesting:
1. When talking about the lyrics, Islam commented: “It was one of those chord sequences that are very common in Spanish music. I turned it around and came up with that theme, which is a recurring theme in my work, which has to do with leaving, the sadness of leaving and the anticipation of what lies beyond. Sometimes there is a criticism of my music, which is a bit naive, but that’s exactly why people like it. It goes back to the purely childlike approach of seeing things for almost the first time. A child may say things like, “Why is it a cow?” You shouldn’t put those words together! But if you do, then it makes you stop and think. “
2. Wild World was one of the songs that convinced Islam to release a Greatest Hits album from his previous job as Cat Stevens.
3. Stevens wasn’t the first to release his own song. Jimmy Cliff had a version of the song that was released months before Stevens released his own original version on the “Tea For the Tillerman” album. Cliff’s version was a top ten hit in England. Steven’s own version was not released as a single there.