Al Stewart: Year of the Cat Meaning
Song Released: 1976
Year of the Cat Lyrics
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
anonymous Jan 25th, 2015 1:02am report
One Saturday evening in 1978 whilst studying at Leeds University Al Stewart was due to play in the refectory. It was the Year of the Cat tour. I had never previously heard of Al Stewart. This was to be one of the most memorable concerts I ever attended. During which AL Stewart explained the meaning of the Year of the Cat and indeed many of his other songs. Most importantly the song is about our failure to make decisions. It about a business man/ company executive who is extremely busy and is flying to a destination in the far east ( on business) when his plane has an unscheduled stop. He leaves the plane along with other passengers. He succumbs to this beautiful woman. By the time he wakes up he realizes the plane has gone and will not be back for some considerable time. His life has changed. That time coinciding with the astrological year of the cat. The significant lyric being “you have thrown away your choice and lost your ticket”. It’s not a decision he would have planned but it’s a good turn in his life events. It’s something he would never otherwise have done. Sometimes decisions have to be made for us. It’s therefore also about fate and coincidences .It evokes the fantasy of the perfect person (for that particular moment in your life) just coming up to you (she doesn’t give you time for questions as she locks up your arms in hers and you follow till your sense of which direction completely disappears) and taking control of your life and taking you to a place which your decision making would never take you to.
"Year of the Cat" is a story song. It's about a Western male who's taking a guided bus tour through the Middle East. During one stop, he and his fellow tourists get to look around at a marketplace or bazaar. The surroundings remind him of scenes he saw in the Humphrey Bogart/Peter Lorre film "Casablanca."
As he wanders, he sees a beautiful, mysterious girl. He follows her, and she leads him back to her room. He learns that she's not an Arab or a native of the Middle East herself- she came there herself from somewhere far away, in "The Year of the Cat." Eventually, they spend hours making passionate love.
He wakes up the next morning, and finds that the tour bus is gone, along with all his luggage, his clothes, his money. So, even though he knows he must return home somehow, someday... for now, he's stuck there in this Middle Eastern nation with this mysterious seductress.
anonymous Yesterday, 07:23 report
I always liked it! I was into astrology but never tried to figure it out! Listening to a nice song relaxed me in those days!
It could almost be about the movie. Peter Lorre was a criminal. Having to remain in Casablanca could almost be juxtaposed with the refugees that ended up in Casablanca in the movie. Okay Rick wasn't a refugee,but the girl in this song could almost be his ex who is now married to Victor Laslow. At any rate ,that's just another take on the song .
anonymous Mar 25th, 3:36pm report
I've always understood the song to be about a man meeting a girl, but not in the Middle East, rather in Morocco. The references to a Bogart movie and Peter Lorre seem to strongly suggest Casablanca (Bogart and Lorre starred in a famous movie of that name, and it was set in the Moroccan city of, you guessed it, Casablanca). This seems to be confirmed by the description of blue-tiled walls near market stalls. I have also seen A.S. describe how the song's name was inspired by a book his then girlfriend owned called, believe it or not, Year of the Cat. He claims he knew a good song title when he saw it.
anonymous Feb 13th, 2020 2:54am report
It's obviously a mental combination of the Maltese Falcon and the cat in the hat( Dr. Seuss), and a man who can't decide if he should return home or remain stranded in Casablanca!He meets a strange woman who ignores his every word and further leads him to ruin and bliss all at the same time!
anonymous Dec 24th, 2018 12:31am report
It's a story about a musician whose life is always on the road with music drums still beating in his head from the night before. Traveling to different countries and meeting different women. Incense always fill the air.
He wants to leave the road but for now he is obligated to stay.
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