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Mona Bone Jakon
Studio album by Cat Stevens
Released April 1, 1970
Recorded January - February 1970,
Olympic Studios, London;
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Folk Rock
Pop
Rock
Length 35:15
Label A&M (U.S.)
Island (UK)
Producer Paul Samwell-Smith
Professional reviews
Cat Stevens chronology
New Masters
(1967)
Mona Bone Jakon
(1970)
Tea for the Tillerman
(1970)
Back Cover
Mona Bone Jakon back cover

Mona Bone Jakon is an album by singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. The album was released on April 1, 1970 on the A&M record label in the United States and Canada, and the Island record label in the United Kingdom. After a meteoric start to his career, Stevens virtually disappeared from the British pop scene in October 1968. Mona Bone Jakon is notable not only for his return, but for the emergence of a very different artist.

Contents

Background

Prior to recording Mona Bone Jakon, Stevens was a British teenage pop star with the hit singles "I Love My Dog", "Matthew and Son" and "I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun".

For much of 1969 Stevens was recovering from tuberculosis. After his recovery, Stevens negotiated out of his contract with Deram Records and partnered with former Yardbirds member Paul Samwell-Smith to introduce a simple, emotionally straightforward sound, with songs played in spare arrangements on acoustic guitars and keyboards and driven by a restrained rhythm section built from second guitarist Alun Davies, bassist John Ryan, and drummer Harvey Burns—and on one song, "Katmandu", Peter Gabriel on the flute.

The songs themselves were darker in tone: the madrigal-inspired ballad "Lady D'Arbanville" elevated the tragedy of a lost lover in question (in this case, Stevens' former girlfriend Patti D'Arbanville) to that of a deceased one; "Trouble" was a plea to stave off death; "Pop Star" showcased Stevens' dramatic change in voice by satirizing the triviality of celebrity.

Though "Lady D'Arbanville" would reach #8 on the British charts, Mona Bone Jakon was only a modest success upon its initial release. The album attracted attention, however, in the wake of the commercial breakthrough of its follow-up, Tea for the Tillerman, and with the inclusion of three of its songs ("Trouble", "I Wish, I Wish", and "I Think I See the Light") in Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins's black comedy Harold and Maude in 1971.

Origin of title

According to Stevens, the inspiration for the title was a name he created to describe his penis:

""Mona Bone Jakon" is another name for my penis. It's the name I give it. It's not some sort of secret vocabulary, it's just something I made up."[1]

Track listing

All songs written by Cat Stevens.

Side one

  1. "Lady D'Arbanville" – 3:45
  2. "Maybe You're Right" – 3:25
  3. "Pop Star" – 4:13
  4. "I Think I See the Light" – 3:55
  5. "Trouble" – 2:49

Side two

  1. "Mona Bone Jakon" – 1:42
  2. "I Wish, I Wish" – 3:50
  3. "Katmandu" – 3:22
  4. "Time" – 1:26
  5. "Fill My Eyes" – 3:00
  6. "Lilywhite" – 3:41

Personnel

  • Cat Stevens – guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, strings, vocals
  • Alun Davies – guitar, backing vocals
  • John Ryan – bass
  • Nicky Hopkins - bass, keyboards
  • Harvey Burns – drums, percussion
  • Peter Gabriel – flute on "Katmandu"
  • Del Newman - strings, arrangements

Production

Charts

Album

Year Chart Position
1971 Pop Albums 164

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1970 Lady D'Arbanville Pop Singles 8

Certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold January 15, 1976

Notes

  1. ^ "Popmusique interview c. 1972". Majcat - Cat Stevens scrapbook. http://www.majicat.com/articles/popmusique.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-22.  







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