I mental the very first time the song struck me. Even now, so many years later, "Oh an extremely Young" by Cat Stevens is a song that will make me stop doing every little thing I"m doing, and also forces me to listen.

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Some songs do me prevent in mine tracks and also listen.

They"ll which in a restaurant and I"ll prevent eating, prevent talking, and focus top top the music.

One that those song is "Oh very Young," the Cat Stevens track that climbed to No. 10 on the U.S. Charts in 1974.

In my childhood, i was blessed come be increased in a household where so lot music was played. I"d obtain some Beatles, I"d get some Styx, I"d get Chicago, Neil Diamond, and so numerous other good bands and artists.

I recognize I heard part Cat Stevens, too, since songs like "Wild World" and also "Morning has Broken" room as influential in my memory as "Corey"s Coming" by take care of Chapin and "American Pie" by Don McLean.

But "Oh really Young" ... Girlfriend know, honestly, ns don"t remember hearing it prior to my sophomore year that college. That appears impossible, but I open minded don"t remember the from my younger years. Yet in college? The storage is vivid.


I to be walking ago to mine dorm after a late class. That was about this time the year, as I psychic the pipeline being gold, orange, yellow and also brown. I had my headphones on and also I to be passing Memorial Union top top the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. Memorial Union is this big, Gothic tower the a building. As I was passing it, this tinkling sound came up on mine headphones.

"You"re just dancin" ~ above this earth for a short while.

"And despite your dreams may toss and also turn you now ..."

I quit in mine tracks. Who is this? The voice sounded familiar. Honestly, my very first guess was that it to be Van Dyke Parks. Parks is a top-notch musician, songwriter and also producer, and his voice didn"t seem too dissimilar. I was familiar with Parks because of my attention in The Beach boys (he co-wrote the "SMiLE" material with Brian Wilson, and "Sail On, Sailor" and also a number of other pieces; due to the fact that of that connection, I"d choose up Parks" albums and also loved lock all).


So ns was haunted by this song. I couldn"t really hum the or sing any kind of of the text to friends, it was a specter that flitted through my head. It was maddening!

A couple of months later, i was sitting in a restaurant through my parents and also the song came on. Ns pounced. "Dad, who did this song? i love it, however I have actually no idea who this is." mine folks at the same time responded, "It"s Cat Stevens."

After our enjoy the meal wrapped up, I immediately went out and bought a Cat Stevens "best of" compilation. Sure, it had "Wild World" and also "Morning has Broken" and many other good songs (wow, "Lady D"Arbanville" and also "Where execute The kids Play?" are great songs, too). But it was "Oh an extremely Young" the stole mine attention.

I listened come it over and also over. It"s a quick song, just a touch over two and a half minutes. Yet it is the building and construction of the song, the lyrical touches, the breakable voice, the female harmony vocal that periodically jumps increase front ...

What is it about? Is it around Buddy Holly? Is it around growing increase in a civilization where childhood gives means to the unstable realities the adulthood?

You have the right to interpret it together you wish. If it"s a track honoring Holly, it is excellent beautifully in a method where the doesn"t need to be about him (the "Words that Love" reference). For me, it"s a lovely mood piece that conveys a parental love and also concern because that a son who is growing up (perhaps also fast) in a people that deserve to be cold and unkind. The child can even be in his or her teens, taking independent steps out native under the parental umbrella.

"There"ll never ever be a far better chance to readjust your mind.

"And if you want this people to check out a far better day / Will you bring the native of love v you?

"Will friend ride the good white bird into heaven?

"And though you desire to critical forever / You understand you never ever will.

"And the goodbye makes the journey harder still."

Life is filled with experiences, and hopes. That is filled through losses and also fear, too. Our day-to-day concerns can be reasonably minor for others, but major for united state (patching jeans, making money stretch, clothing children). We deserve to wonder around what will happen after our brief time top top this world. Is over there a heaven, is there a hell?

What will you do with your short time?

What will you leave behind you?

Cat Stevens may have left behind this performance identify when he became Yusuf Islam. The brothers musician may have actually converted to Islam, he might have end up being a humanitarian, he might have end up being a philanthropist. He may have actually angered some with his religion, with his politics. The may have raised eyebrows and turned off fans. Or perhaps not.


One point is because that sure: He gave us music. He gave us questions. He offered us "Oh really Young."

So I"ll stop. I"ll listen. For much less than three minutes, I"ll acquire wrapped up in life, love, spirituality and deep feeling.

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Some native of love lift you out of yourself. And though we might want lock to last forever ...