The son of a Greek Cypriot restaurateur and a Swedish mother, Cat Stevens grew up in London's West End, surrounded by the glitz and glamour of theatre land. He learned piano but, inspired by The Beatles, took up guitar and started playing on the Soho folk scene. Debut single I Love My Dog was a minor hit but the bright, poppy follow-up Matthew & Son made him a teen star. Musically ambitious he soon outgrew the shallow demands of pop stardom, reinventing himself as a more spiritual singer-songwriter. Acclaim for his 1970s albums Teaser and the Firecat and Catch Bull At Four along with hit singles Peace Train, Morning Has Broken and Moon Shadow followed. A near-death experience while swimming in California changed his life; he converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, quit music to devote himself to teaching, and renounced his past life as Cat Stevens. By 2000, however, he'd mellowed, agreeing to promote some Cat Stevens reissues and tentatively returned to recording, notably with a 2005 single Indian Ocean, about the 2004 tsunami.