Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ooh, baby, baby, it's a wild world

There are a bunch of stories of British musicians who come over to America on tour and find fame and fortune. Sometimes the musicians return on tour (Depeche Mode), sometimes they don't (Beatles, who stopped touring altogether after four years in the blinding spotlight), and sometimes they wait a while before returning on tour.

Take Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. He hadn't toured the U.S. in over 30 years until he recently appeared at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles.

Of course, a couple of things have happened to him since his previous U.S. musical appearance in 1976. First, he tired of the pop life after becoming a Muslim in 1977, and quit the stage altogether in 1979. Second, Islam has faced various visa problems since September 11, 2001 related to charitable donations that he has made; the U.S. government considers some of the organizations non-charitable. And even on his current two-city tour, his New York appearance was canceled due to "[a]n unspecified work-visa issue."

Incidentally, I didn't realize until today that the Rod Stewart song "The First Cut is the Deepest" was originally written by Islam.
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