Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son” Back in the Spotlight

Cat Stevens, Ted Lasso inset
Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Cat Stevens’ lyrics and music certainly bring out the emotions. In the Season 3 finale of Ted Lasso, titled “So Long, Farewell,” Stevens’ 1970 track ‘Father and Son’ played in the background as Ted (Jason Sudeikis) made some critical life choices (no spoilers here). Fans immediately poured to Stevens’ social media account, where they gushed about how perfect the song was for the episode, and how much the song has meant to them, calling it a “timeless masterpiece” and saying “I never stop listening to this song.” Here we celebrate the acclaimed artist’s amazing life, and highlight a few of the TV series and movies that have incorporated his poignant hits over the years.

Cat Stevens and His Inspiring Music

At birth he was named Steven Demetre Georgiou, but it’s his stage name Cat Stevens, and later Yusuf Islam, who we’ve come to treasure. Stevens was born in July of 1948 to Ingrid and Stavros in the United Kingdom. From a young age Stevens knew what success looked like, from both releasing his own hit songs in the mid ’60s with ‘I Love My Dog’ and ‘Matthew and Son’ and also as a prolific songwriter, writing songs such as ‘Here Comes My Baby’ and ‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ for other artists. He was seemingly on the fast path to stardom until he caught a life-threatening case of tuberculosis in 1968 that hospitalized him for several months when he was just 20 years old. Lucky to still be alive, Stevens came out of the hospital with a new perspective on the world, along with a much more profound focus on inner reflection and meditation.

Stevens not only made significant changes to his lifestyle, but he also gained a new sound that was more stripped-down and intimate. He began to ascend again as a superstar coming out with albums such as Tea for the Tillerman in 1970, which contained the classics ‘Wild World,’ ‘Hard Headed Woman,’ ‘Where Do the Children Play?’ and ‘Father and Son.’ He followed that up with his next album, Teaser and the Firecat in 1971, which made him a true household name with hits like ‘Morning Has Broken,’ ‘Peace Train’ and ‘Moonshadow.’

In 1975, when Stevens was 27, he was swimming in the Pacific Ocean off Malibu when he began to get swept away. With nothing left to do but hope, he called upon God to help save his life. Soon after, a wave brought him to shore, ultimately saving his life, and from that moment on, and after receiving a copy of the Koran from his brother, he converted to Islam. In 1978 he officially changed his name to Yusuf Islam. Since then Stevens has spent his life exploring different musical styles and avenues, along with helping those in need, any opportunity he gets.


Where Is Cat Stevens Today?

He’s actively touring. Later this month he’ll be in Berlin, Hamburg, Rome and Marbella. He will play at the 2023 Glastonbury Festival in the coveted Legends slot on June 25, 2023.

Cat Stevens’ Songs in TV and Movies

1. “Father and Son” in Ted Lasso (Season 3, Episode 12)

Stevens’ “Father and Son” played memorably in a pivotal moment in Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) career and life, which marked the possible end of the series. “This is the end of this story that we wanted to tell, that we were hoping to tell, that we loved to tell,” Sudeikis shared. 

Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis

Apple TV+

2. “The Wind” in Almost Famous (2000)

In one of the most memorable scenes from the movie, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) is alone dancing in an empty gymnasium while “The Wind” echoes around her.

Almost Famous, Kate Hudson

3. “Don’t Be Shy” and other singles in Harold and Maude (1971)

Still considered a cult classic to many, Harold and Maude features several popular Cat Stevens songs including “Don’t Be Shy,” “Where Do the Children Play,” “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” and “Trouble.”

HAROLD AND MAUDE, Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon, 1971

Everett Collection

4. “Father and Son” in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Near the end of the second film, Peter (Chris Pratt) and his crew fly away, at which point “Father and Son” is played, evoking emotion in both the characters in the movie and those consuming the film.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, Chris Pratt, 2017.

© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

5. “Moonshadow” in This Is Us 

In the Season 1 finale of the hit series This Is Us, we journeyed back to 1972 when Rebecca (Mandy Moore) was an aspiring singer, and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was a young Vietnam War vet struggling. The two met in a bar where Rebecca was singing Cat Stevens’ “Moonshadow.” In the Season 2 finale, we see an older Rebecca perform the song again in her daughter’s dream.

THIS IS US -- Season: 4 -- Pictured: (l-r) Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore

Photo by: Annie Leibovitz/NBC

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