Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#8) and Adult Contemporary (#8); 1977

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Glasgow-born Al Stewart got his professional start playing guitar in a band helmed by British disc jockey Tony Blackburn, who notched up a couple of UK charters in 1968 and 1969.

Stepping out solo, Al released a single called The Elf on which Jimmy Page played guitar. Albums followed – all of them unsuccessful – until 1974’s Past, Present And Future cracked the U.S. album chart.

1975’s Modern Times did noticeably better, and 1976’s Year Of The Cat, produced by Alan Parsons, was a bona fide smash. Despite many claims as to the true story behind the lyrics to the title tune, Stewart told the authors of Behind The Hits, that he spied the phrase “year of the cat” in a girlfriend’s book on Vietnamese astrology.

Instantly recognizing a great song title, Al simply built a “meaningless love song” around it. His vague allusions tickled the curiosity of many a pop music fan during the winter of 1976/77, and gave Al a Top 10 hit in the process.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Alan Parsons

Lyrics Written by:

  • Al Stewart
  • Peter Wood