‘Catch Bull At Four’: Cat Stevens Captures A US No.1

The 1972 release became the only Cat Stevens album to top the American charts.

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Cat Stevens artwork: UMG
Cat Stevens artwork: UMG

Cat Stevens was in such form in 1972 that, exactly 12 months after Teaser and the Firecat helped him become one of the defining album rock artists of that decade, he was able to create a follow-up that did even better. On November 18 that year, Catch Bull At Four became his only album to top the US charts.

A year earlier, Teaser had come close to that feat, when it peaked at No.2 in America during an epic 67-week run on the bestsellers. It did exactly that in the UK, where only the height of Bolanmania and T.Rextasy kept it off the top, as Electric Warrior continued its reign.

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The title Catch Bull At Four came from the Ten Bulls series of poems inspired by the Zen school of Buddhism, in which Catching the Bull is the fourth step after searching for it, discovering its footprints and perceiving the creature. Such a scholarly approach was typical of Stevens’ mindset at the time, and was further exemplified by tracks such as “Sitting,” which addressed the subject of meditation but cleverly did so within the pop format, becoming a Top 20 US hit.

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In the UK, the album was given further profile by the similar popularity of the single “Can’t Keep It In.” Catch Bull mirrored its predecessor by again peaking at No.2, this time losing out to a 20 All-Time Greats of the 50s collection from budget compilation company K-Tel, in the days when such various artists collections qualified for the main album chart.

Stevens embarked on a 31-date tour of the US in September which undoubtedly helped the album to fulfill its true potential, with a three-week run at No.1. He then returned home for UK dates, including a December show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Buy or stream Catch Bull At Four.




  1. Ian Crumblish

    November 18, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Yeah, I was there with you on this album, I loved it. But what I never got was you transient passage from Catholic to Zen Buddhism to something else to something else to . . . eventually wherever the hell you are now ! You’ve tried every religion I can think of, but you still cant understand that it’s all make believe fairy tale nonsense. Surely you religious passages tell you that !

    • Iana

      November 19, 2019 at 4:37 am

      Throughout time, humans have had concrete belief systems in place. That isnt fairytale. Even the agnostic way IS a chosen belief/path. These are all valid paths to reach our own enlightenment in our lives. How better to choose or create your belief/path than through experiencing different things until one fits? I call that intelligent. It is also part of a search for a deeper meaning in life, a soul quest, which beats an empty, shallow life. It is no different than trying different foods or clothing styles to express one’s self. I was 5 when I first heard Yusuf/Cat’s music. I related to it, and realized the power of love through music . Music can shape the world, or universes, for that matter. It is a language that has no barriers. Music & lyrics can & do spread light & love, uniting yhose, if we just listen. How beautiful & wondrous is this? There are times in life that I could have sold out & allowed myself to become hardened. I credit msny things, including Yusuf/Cat’s music for reminding who I really am, deep inside.

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