THE beard is now grey, as well as black. But the music is more poignant and powerful than ever.
Yusuf Islam is the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens.
A year ago, BBC1 screened an outstanding Imagine documentary about the superstar who vanished from the stage.
You can read about it in the MEN feature here.
At the end of his final performance in 1979, he told the audience: “We’ve only got one life and we’ve got to do the best with it.
“You’ve got to find the right path and when you do, you know it. So I pray that you find the right path. Inshallah. Goodbye.”
Last Sunday, the same channel broadcast Yusuf’s return to the stage at London’s Porchester Hall.
It saw classic songs like Father and Son and Peace Train alongside tracks from his “comeback” album An Other Cup.
Imbued with a sense of the years that have gone by and Yusuf’s own spiritual outlook, it was a stunning 50 minutes of television.
The singer-songwriter and his backing musicians created some truly magical moments, as his grandchild slept in the audience.
They included “a slight change to an old song, called Wild World, with some new words…in Zulu”.
If you missed it, the good news is that it’s on again this Friday as part of BBC4’s Cat Stevens Night.
The evening begins at 8.30pm with a 1971 TV studio concert, screened again on BBC4 last year.
That’s followed at 9.10pm by the 2006 Imagine profile and then at 10.05pm comes that repeat of his first solo concert in almost 30 years.
Also check out the links below for a BBC video interview with Yusuf and footage from the Porchester Hall performance.
In a week when a terror trial has again dominated news headlines, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens carries a Muslim message of peace.
Peace Train was originally released in 1971 – during the Vietnam War – on the album Teaser and the Firecat.
Some 36 years later, the anthem for peace is still out on the edge of darkness and in the hands of a remarkable man.
Yusuf Islam BBC Video Interview
Cat The Enigma Is Back
Cat Stevens Archive
BBC News Profile
Yusuf Islam Wikipedia Profile