Meaning of Wild World – Cat Stevens & Song Story

In the seventies, the career of the British singer Cat Stevens (Cat Stevens) developed fantastically. He has sold over sixty million records and two of his albums have been certified platinum three times. One can only guess how influential a musician he would have become in the future, if in 1977 he did not convert to Islam, did not call himself Islam Yusuf (Islam Yusuf) and did not leave secular music.

One of Stevens’ first worldwide hits was Wild World (“Mad World”), also known for numerous cover versions.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Wild World – Cat Stevens

For about two years, Kat dated aspiring model and actress Patti D’Arbanville. He dedicated several songs to her, including the track Lady D’Arbanville from the album Mona Bone Jakon.

Stevens wanted a more serious relationship, but the girl was busy with her career and did not seek to turn into a married lady. In the end, they broke up.

Soon Kat released the sad composition Wild World. Naturally, many of his fans decided that it was dedicated to Patty. However, the author does not agree with this interpretation.

Speaking about the story behind the creation of Wild World, Stevens briefly explained what the song is about:

It was one of the chord progressions very common in Spanish music. I changed it a little and came up with this theme – which is often repeated in my work – connected with parting, the sadness of parting and anticipation of what awaits you in the future.


Here is another excerpt from an interview with Stevens, in which he explains the meaning of the Wild World song:

I tried to relate it to my life… Not that I wrote about anyone in particular, although other people may have provided information for the song, but it was more about me. It talks about the loss of connection with home and reality – especially with home.

The Chris Isaak Hour, 2009

Release and achievements

The author was not the first to release the composition. Wild World was first sung by Jimmy Cliff. He was assisted in recording the track by Cat Stevens himself. In 1970, this version became a hit and climbed to number eight in the UK charts.

The ballad performed by Cat Stevens was included in his fourth album Tea for the Tillerman. In September 1970, the Wild World single was released in the US. The song peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Cat’s first US hit.

The single was not released in the UK. Island Records, which released the musician in Europe, sought to get people to buy the album and therefore abandoned this format.

Clip Wild World – Cat Stevens

Watch the video clip of Wild World by Cat Stevens.

Returning to the stage, Yusuf Islam began to periodically perform Wild World. So, in 2007 he sang it at a concert in Hamburg, and in 2011 at a performance in Rotterdam.

Wild World cover versions

The composition was performed by many famous musicians. Let’s take a look at some popular covers.

In 1987, host Jonathan King accused the Pet Shop Boys of using excerpts from a Stevens track in the song It’s a Sin. To prove the fact of plagiarism, he recorded a cover version of Wild World, copying the arrangement from It’s a Sin. Members of the Pet Shop Boys sued him, won the case and donated the money to charity.

In 1988, Maxi Priest’s Wild World rose to number five on the UK charts. Next is a video clip.

American group Mr. Big recorded a cover for Bump Ahead’s third album. Their version, in the style of a pop-rock ballad, charted in several countries, and climbed to number twenty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

Recall the very popular video clip of Wild World in the past – Mr. Big, directed by Nancy Bennett.

Wild World was also performed by The Ventures, Wise Guys, Blue Lagoon, SNFU and other bands.


Wild World Cat Stevens Lyrics

Now that I’ve lost everything to you
You say you want to start something new
And it’s breaking my heart you’re leaving
Baby, I’m grieving
But if you want to leave, take good care
Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

Oh baby baby it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it’s a wild world
I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do
And it’s breaking my heart in two
‘Cause I never want to see you sad girl
Don’t be a bad girl
But if you want to leave take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware


Baby I love you
But if you want to leave take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware

Chorus x2

Publisher: EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC


Quote about the song Wild World

How many interpretations of a song can there be? In the case of Cat Stevens’ 1971 hit, there are at least three: the original Catman, Maxi Priest’s reggae-tinged version, and now the soulful, touching version of Mr. Big with a touch of rock.

Gavin Report

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