Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat,” released in the U.S. in late 1976, was catchy but enigmatic. Produced by Alan Parsons, the song about a mystical tryst in Morocco peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard pop chart and became a yacht-rock classic.
Recently, Mr. Stewart, who co-wrote the song with the late Peter Wood, talked about the hit’s influences. A 45th-anniversary remastered edition of the album “Year of the Cat” (Esoteric) will be released Friday Edited from interviews.
Al Stewart: In England in the 1960s, comedian Tony Hancock was a national TV sensation. He was self-critical and riddled with anxiety. Playing the underdog was part of his humor and charm.
When I was 20, in 1966, I went to see Hancock perform in Bournemouth. His monologue that evening was all about being a loser and why he may as well end it all right there on stage. The audience roared.
But I had this eerie feeling. What if he was serious? What if he truly was depressed and despondent? In ’68, while touring in Australia, Hancock committed suicide.