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Cat's Cradle

Yusuf releases songs by young Cat Stevens


Cat Stevens is reaching back to his kittenish teenage years for a new album of his oldest songs.

"The Laughing Apple," available now, features fresh versions of 11 songs he wrote as a teenager in the 1960s, long before "Peace Train," "Wild World" and "Moonshadow" made him one of the most popular singer-songwriters of the '70s.

"I felt as if some of these songs deserve to be personalized, again, by me," says the 69-year-old Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam, in a Rolling Stone interview posted online today.

"It was like going into a trunk of your old toys," he adds. "You pull them out and see whether or not these choo-choo trains still go on the tracks."

"The Laughing Apple" is the fourth studio album credited to Yusuf, the name Stevens adopted after converting to Islam in 1977. He quit recording and touring until 2006, when he released "An Other Cup," Yusuf's first album.

As Cat Stevens, he recorded 11 studio albums, including two in 1970 and one every year through 1978. He notched 11 Top 40 singles during that span, starting with 1970's "Wild World," which peaked at No. 11. Two songs got as high as No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100: "Morning Has Broken" in 1972 and a cover of Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night" in 1974.