Yusuf Islam To Perform At Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony

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Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, churned out hits in the 1970s before leaving pop music after a conversion to Islam. He's among this year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, as we've just heard, one of the inductees at tonight's ceremony is Cat Stevens.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WILD WORLD")

CAT STEVENS: (Singing) Oh, baby. Baby, it's a wild world. I'll always remember you like a child, girl...

GREENE: Stevens became a Muslim in 1977. He later changed his name to Yusuf Islam and he abruptly retired from music. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Islam says he plans to attend the awards, saying, quote, Hopefully I'll make it.

You might recall that in 2004 Yusuf Islam was not permitted into the United States after his name turned up on a terrorist watch list. NPR caught up with him a couple of years later around the release of his album, "Another Cup," and he addressed that dustup.

YUSUF ISLAM: Well, it was, as I said, you know, it's like I was suddenly in the center of this Hollywood film, you know, where I really didn't quite know who I was supposed to be playing and what the plot was, and how it was going to end and who was the director of this...

(LAUGHTER)

ISLAM: ...this nasty film. And - but, you know, I ended up taking a very relaxed view about it and think: Well, you know what? I have great hope and I believe that in the end, you know, that people will find out, you know, that I never came, ever came to this country with an ounce of enmity towards anyone. And I'm just so glad that today, you know, people have woken up to that message. Maybe some people still have to wake up to that message, but the majority have understood that. And I'm very happy to be back.

GREENE: That is the voice of Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. He'll perform tonight at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

And you're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WILD WORLD")

STEVENS: (Singing) 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 that everywhere. Well, oh baby. Baby, it's a wild...

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