English musician Cat Stevens was a much-loved figure on both sides of the Atlantic due to a string of hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Peace Train," "Wild World" and "Morning Has Broken," before his 1978 conversion to Islam, which ended his career as a secular artist for over three decades. Stevens' gift for warm and frequently lovely lyrics that touched on issues of love and childhood endeared him to grade schoolers, Aquarian Age idealists and aging folkies alike, who in turn bestowed star status on the singer-songwriter. Between 1970 and 1977, Stevens enjoyed a slew of Top 5 albums and singles, but a series of events, including a near-death experience in 1976, spurred a spiritual awakening that resulted in his conversion and adoption of the name Yusuf Islam. For much of the next three decades, Stevens concerned himself with charitable matters while recording spoken word or unaccompanied vocals on several Islamic-themed records in the 1990s. He also contended with numerous media accusations, including his alleged support for the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, which he handled with exceptional patience. Stevens' refusal to play guitar on his post-conversion recordings, which he erroneously believed would be an offense to his religion, was lifted in 2003, and soon followed by two albums that returned him to his folk-rock roots in 2006 and 2009. Throughout his four-decade career, Stevens' commitment to matters of the heart and soul in both his music and personal life made him an inspirational figure for generations of listeners.