5 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the Tower of Power horns, Patti Austin, Barbara Massey, and Tasha Thomas on backing vocals and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums, Cat Stevens set out to self-produce Foreigner and come up with his impressions of R&B. Stevens moves over to piano for many of the songs, and Jean Roussel added keyboards and string/brass/wood arrangements, while Stevens’ usual accompanying guitarist, Alun Davies, was removed from the lineup. The R&B-inflected “The Hurt” became a mild hit, while “Later” added a touch of funk and “100 I Dream” continued in this style, which felt to Stevens like he was exploring “foreign” territory. Only “How Many Times” revealed traces of old Cat. The side-long, 18-minute “Foreigner Suite” is an exploratory gamble that sounds like a mix of Jethro Tull and Stevie Wonder: progressive rock meeting R&B and soul with an extreme, out-there approach. Interestingly, in modern times, Stevens filed a lawsuit regarding the melody to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” alleging that the song plagiarized the part of “Foreigner Suite” that starts 14 and a half minutes in. Listen for yourself.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the Tower of Power horns, Patti Austin, Barbara Massey, and Tasha Thomas on backing vocals and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums, Cat Stevens set out to self-produce Foreigner and come up with his impressions of R&B. Stevens moves over to piano for many of the songs, and Jean Roussel added keyboards and string/brass/wood arrangements, while Stevens’ usual accompanying guitarist, Alun Davies, was removed from the lineup. The R&B-inflected “The Hurt” became a mild hit, while “Later” added a touch of funk and “100 I Dream” continued in this style, which felt to Stevens like he was exploring “foreign” territory. Only “How Many Times” revealed traces of old Cat. The side-long, 18-minute “Foreigner Suite” is an exploratory gamble that sounds like a mix of Jethro Tull and Stevie Wonder: progressive rock meeting R&B and soul with an extreme, out-there approach. Interestingly, in modern times, Stevens filed a lawsuit regarding the melody to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” alleging that the song plagiarized the part of “Foreigner Suite” that starts 14 and a half minutes in. Listen for yourself.

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