Personnel: Cat Stevens (vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion); Cat Stevens; Larry Steele (vocals, guitar, congas, percussion); Yusuf Islam (vocals, guitar); Gerry Conway (vocals, drums, percussion); Art Garfunkel (vocals, background vocals); Barbara Massey, Evette Benton, Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson, Vincent Gloud, Elkie Brooks, Anna Peacock, Vincent Beck, Linda Lewis, Luther Vandross, Melba Joyce, Patti Austin, Paul Samwell-Smith, Suzanne Lynch, Tasha Thomas, Lewis Furey, Brenda Russell , Carl Hall, Carmen Twillie (vocals); Eric Johnson , Jim Cregan , Mark Warner, Pete Carr , Phil Upchurch, Ray Gomez, Reggie Young , Simon Nicol, Jim "Shaft" Ryan (guitar); Brian Cole, Weldon Myrick (steel guitar); Roland Harker (banjo); Angelos Hatzipavli, Andreas Toumazis (bouzouki); Marjorie Lagerwall, John Marson (harp); David Davidson , John Rostein, David Angell (violin); Kristin Wilkinson (viola); Anthony LaMarchina (cello); Love Sponge String Quartet (strings); Broderick Smith, Graham Smith (harmonica); Gordie Fleming (accordion); Don Weller (saxophone); David Sanborn (alto saxophone); Chick Corea, Tim Henson, Rick Wakeman (piano); Ed Harcourt (Wurlitzer organ); Jean Roussel, Barry Beckett (keyboards); Herbie Flowers (bass guitar); Dave Mattacks, Steve Jordan , Neil Primrose, Andy Newmark, Bill Berg, Barry Morgan (drums); Chico Batera (percussion); Alun Davies (vocals, guitar); Peter Gabriel (flute); Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums); Harvey Burns (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Martin Terefe ; Andreas Olsson.
Recording information: Atlantic Studios, NY (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Australia (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Cheateau D'Herouville, Paris, France (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, England (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Dynamic Sound Studio, Kingston, Jamaica (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Japan (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Kensaltown Recording Studios, London, England (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Le Studio, Morin Heights, Canada (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Little Big Studio, Bellevue, TN (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Manor, Oxfordshire, England (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Morgan Studios, London, England (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Olympic Studios, London, England (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Paramount Studios, Hollywood, CA (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Sound 80 Studios, Minneapolis, MN (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Sound techniques Studios, London, England (12/01/1966-??/??/2005); Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark (12/01/1966-??/??/2005).
Illustrators: Marcus Pungetti; Meire Murakami.
Photographers: Gered Mankowitz; David P. Bailey; Daniel Gordon; Chris Walter; Barrie Wentzell.
The man who was born Steven Demetre Georgiou and would become Yusuf Islam, Cat Stevens enjoyed success with numerous singles in the late 1960s and early '70s, before converting to Islam and turning his back on secular pop in the late '70s. Though Stevens's music often gets overshadowed by his religious beliefs, the British singer/songwriter penned an impressive string of highly melodic folk-rock tunes, a point driven home by this excellent 2005 retrospective.
Arranged in chronological order, the collection moves from Stevens's early work that marked him as an icon of London's Swinging '60s (the deceptively jubilant "Here Comes My Baby" and the oft-covered rock number "The First Cut Is the Deepest") to his early-'70s heyday (the effortlessly catchy "Wild World" and the lilting "Moonshadow"). Of particular note are "Don't Be Shy" and "If You Want to Sing Out Sing Out," two wonderfully uplifting songs featured prominently in the quirky, much-loved dark comedy HAROLD & MAUDE. Although Stevens's post-'71 output isn't quite up to par with earlier efforts, GOLD gathers the standout tunes from this era, and even adds "Indian Ocean," a thoughtful pop-tinged track, featuring admirer Ed Harcourt on Wurlitzer, that was recorded to benefit the survivors of the 2004 Asian tsunami.