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Released: Nov. 23, 1970

Rating: 4.850 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: folk rock

Quotable: Stevens “was prone to airy platitudes, but when he harnessed his eccentricities, as he did throughout this 1970 masterwork, you had something truly distinctive.” – Steve Stolder,

Album Tracks:

  1. Where Do the Children Play?
  2. Hard Headed Woman
  3. Wild World
  4. Sad Lisa
  5. Miles from Nowhere
  6. But I Might Die Tonight
  7. Longer Boats
  8. Into White
  9. On the Road to Find Out
  10. Father and Son
  11. Tea for the Tillerman

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 3.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 3.0


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 8
peak on U.K. album chart 20

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Wild World (2/13/71) #11 US, #21 AC

Notes: In 2008, a deluxe edition of the album was released which contained a second disc of demos and live recordings.


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Tea for the Tillerman
Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens first made a name for himself in his native England with 1967’s Matthew & Son, a top 10 album in the U.K. After another album and being sidelined more than a year by a battle with tuberculosis, he returned with 1970’s Mona Bone Jakon.” However, his real breakthrough in the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world, came “seven months later, [when] he returned with Tea for the Tillerman, an album in the same chamber-group style, employing the same musicians and producer, but with a far more confident tone. Mona Bone Jakon had been full of references to death, but Tea for the Tillerman was not about dying; it was about living in the modern world while rejecting it in favor of spiritual fulfillment.” WR

“It began with a statement of purpose, Where Do the Children Play?, in which Stevens questioned the value of technology and progress.” WR That song, along with “On the Road to Find Out, Tea for the Tillerman and Miles from Nowhere were featured in the Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins’ black comedy film entitled Harold and Maude, in 1971.” WK

The album’s best-known song, Wild World, “found the singer being dumped by a girl, but making the novel suggestion that she should stay with him because she was incapable of handling things without him.” WR Songs like that one, “Into White, and Longer Boats indicate that [Stevens] may have been a more gifted tunesmith than” SS “such wistful English contemporaries as Nick Drake, Syd Barrett, and Donovan;” SS all musicians he shares more with than “the early-‘70s singer-songwriter school led by James Taylor and Carole King” SS with whom he “tends to be lumped.” SS

Sad Lisa might have been about the same girl after she tried and failed to make her way; now, she seemed depressed to the point of psychosis.” WR

“The rest of the album veered between two themes: the conflict between the young and the old, and religion as an answer to life’s questions. Tea for the Tillerman was the story of a young man’s search for spiritual meaning in a soulless class society he found abhorrent. He hadn’t yet reached his destination, but he was confident he was going in the right direction, traveling at his own, unhurried pace. The album’s rejection of contemporary life and its yearning for something more struck a chord with listeners in an era in which traditional verities had been shaken. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Stevens had lost none of his ability to craft a catchy pop melody; the album may have been full of angst, but it wasn’t hard to sing along to. As a result, Tea for the Tillerman became a big seller and…its creator became a pop star.” WR

“As with the best of the Brit folk-rockers, Stevens mixed melancholy with whimsy. Yes, he was prone to airy platitudes, but when he harnessed his eccentricities, as he did throughout this 1970 masterwork, you had something truly distinctive.” SS

Note: “Stevens, a former art student, created the artwork featured on the record's cover.” WK

Review Source(s):

Wild World (video)

Father and Son (video)

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Last updated July 22, 2010.