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Islam will release an album this fall



Published: Sun, September 10, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Islam will releasean album this fall

NEW YORK -- The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens will release his first pop album in 28 years this fall.

Stevens, who changed his name to Yusuf Islam after converting to Islam in the late 1970s, has signed with Atlantic Records in conjunction with his Ya Records label, it was announced last week.

"I feel right about making music and singing about life in this fragile world again," the 58-year-old singer-songwriter said in a statement. "It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross."

The album, "An Other Cup," is set for release in November. His last studio album was 1978's "Back to Earth."

"Yusuf's new songs are as moving and timeless as the classics that inspired a generation," Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman said in a statement. "His spiritual quest is one of the most extraordinary stories of our time -- a life journey marked by courage, devotion and transformation."

The London-born singer had a string of pop hits in the 1960s and '70s including "Here Comes My Baby," "Wild World," "Peace Train" and "Moonshadow." After converting to Islam, he changed his name and left the music world.

His charity, Small Kindness, provides aid to orphans and families in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, among other regions.

Interested in evening job?No thanks, says Lauer

NEW YORK -- Don't look for Katie Couric's former "Today" show partner Matt Lauer to be following her into the night.

Lauer said last week he has no ambition to become an evening news anchor like Couric, who started this week at the "CBS Evening News" after 15 years at "Today."

The variety of the morning show format fits his talents, he said. Within the next week, NBC will air interviews he has done with President Bush and Debra Lafave, a middle school teacher who admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old student near Tampa, Fla.

"At the moment, I don't have another dream job," Lauer said in a meeting with reporters to drum up interest in the debut next week of new "Today" partner, Meredith Vieira.

Contractually, he's not going anywhere: NBC News, a division of General Electric Co., announced this spring that it had extended Lauer's deal to keep him on "Today" until 2011, at a salary estimated at between $13 million and $15 million a year.

Today's birthdays

Golfer Arnold Palmer is 77. Actor Greg Mullavey is 67. Singer Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night) is 64. Singer Jose Feliciano is 61. Actor Tom Ligon is 61. Rock musician Joe Perry (Aerosmith) is 56. Actress Amy Irving is 53. Actress Kate Burton is 49. Movie director Chris Columbus is 48. Actor Colin Firth is 46. Rock singer-musician David Lowery (Cracker) is 46. Rock musician Robin Goodridge (Bush) is 40. Rock singer-musician Miles Zuniga (Fastball) is 40. Rapper Big Daddy Kane is 38. Movie director Guy Ritchie is 38. Actor Ryan Phillippe is 32.




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