Thursday, January 23, 2020

1976 - "Year of the Cat" - Al Stewart

1976 was probably the first year I really started paying attention to music on the radio. Ever since I first heard this as a 7-year-old in the back of my parents' station wagon, I've adored this song with the cryptic title. 

It's a poem. It's a movie. It's the sound of nostalgia. The vocals are almost narrated and delivered with elegance. And the music, the magical music flows "Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart is one of the most moving singles ever released. It gives me all the feels.

I've never been a big fan of love songs. At least not the sappy, cliché-riddled ones, those which inevitably included the word 'love' in the title.

The lyrics paint a few literal images, notably the epic "She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolor in the rain", but mostly the story being told has an elusive feel to it... 

Musically beautiful, lyrically poetic and masterfully produced. There's the iconic solo trinity: the intro piano solo. Later, a guitar solo. And a sax solo as a wrap. 

Clocking in at over six minutes it may seem long, but I've always found it's over far too soon. That's the sign of a great tune, so much that this classic easily falls in my top 10 of all time.

Al Stewart compares songwriting to cinema: "I want to show you a movie when I’m playing a song." Here's to us all to finding that hidden door in the blue-tiled walls of a market stall.

Other favourites from 1976:

"You Should Be Dancing" - Bee Gees 
Frantic dance floor filler with great bass and guitar.

"Blitzkrieg Bop" – Ramones 
Raw and raucous and ground zero for punk. 

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" – Gordon Lightfoot
An eloquent delivery of a tragic story.

1 comment:

  1. Well I would have chosen the Bee Gees over this song, but it is OK