‘Buddha And The Chocolate Box’: The ‘Lush, Full Sound’ Of Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens’ ‘Buddha and the Chocolate Box’ became his fourth consecutive Top 3 LP on both sides of the Atlantic.
It was one of those albums that adorned turntables and living rooms throughout the 1970s, from the moment it was released on March 19, 1974. The Cat Stevens LP Buddha and the Chocolate Box entered the US chart on April 13 that year. It became the latest in a distinguished line including Tea For The Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat, Catch Bull At Four, and Foreigner.
That last-named album had marked a departure for the London-born singer-songwriter. Stevens had produced it himself, whereas the previous titles in that sequence were overseen by the in-demand and much respected former founder member and bassist with the Yardbirds, Paul Samwell-Smith.
Stevens and Samwell-Smith triumph again
For Buddha, they combined forces, and for the fourth time in a row, the result was an album that made the Top 3 in both the UK and the US. It spent three weeks in runner-up spot on the American chart, held off the top spot only by the original soundtrack to the hottest movie of the season, The Sting.
The album also made the Top 10 throughout much of Europe and reached the top five in Australia. In the UK, it was certified both silver and gold on the same day in early July, less than four months after it hit the shops.
Buddha and the Chocolate Box contained nine new compositions by the artist now known as Yusuf Islam. They ranged from the opening “Music,” a forceful track with a typically powerful message (“think about the light in your eyes, think about what you should know!,” implored the increasingly spiritual and insightful artist) to the tender and charming “Oh Very Young.” Released as a single, that piano-led track reached No.10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Listen to the best of Yusuf/Cat Stevens on Apple Music and Spotify,
Billboard’s review was warmly approving. “Cat Stevens is back with the kind of material he does best,” wrote the magazine. “Perhaps the best thing about this set is that it is chock full of potential singles with easy melodies and relatively simple themes. Stevens depends more on keyboards here than he did on his last set, but this adds to the album’s lush, full sound.”
Buy or stream Buddha and the Chocolate Box.
March 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm
I just love you and your works of art. You calm me down, you allow me to be spiritual through your music and share your joy with my younger daughter(24). You bring such peace to a crazy world, and it’s been a crazy world sense back in the ’70’s when I first became aware of your music. Keep on creating light for those of us, sometimes stuck in the dark <3
April 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm
Teaser and the what?!? 😉
March 19, 2019 at 4:33 pm
Oh, Yusuf. I love this entire album. I comment to you that your lyrics paired with your music iare definite works of art and God’s wonderful gift He gave to you to share with us.
Also Happy Feast Day. March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary. I know you chose the name because of Joseph from the Old Testament. His elder brothers were jealous and and sold him into slavery in Egypt. But both Josephs were good men.
March 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm
Actually, one of my favorite Al us is Another Cup of Yusuf. The songs on that CD have so much meaning and I’ve played them in my church. UCC Holland
April 13, 2022 at 9:25 pm
I have loved Cat Stevens/Yusuf my entire life and always will!!❤️