Yosef Islam; Stephen Demetri Georgiou

Portrait
Born: Jul 21, 1948 AD
Currently alive, at 66 years of age.

Nationality: British
Categories: Composers, Musicians


1948 - Yusuf Islam, Steven Demetre Georgiou born on the 21st of July in London, England. He is an English musician, singer-songwriter, educator, philanthropist, and a prominent convert to Islam.

1966 - At age 18, he impressed manager/producer Mike Hurst (formerly of British vocal group the Springfields) with his songs and Hurst arranged for him to record a demo and then helped him get a record deal; the first singles, "I Love My Dog" and "Matthew and Son" reached Britain's Top 10, and the album Matthew and Son itself began charting.

1975 - Nearly drowned in an accident in Malibu, he reports having pleaded with God to save him. Stevens described the event in a VH1 interview some years later: "I suddenly held myself and I said, 'Oh God! If you save me, I'll work for you.'" The near-death experience intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth.

1977 - Formally converted to the Islamic faith and took the name Yusuf Islam, saying that he "always loved the name Joseph" and was particularly drawn to the story of Joseph in the Qur'an.

1979 - Made his last musical appearance at The Year of The Child concert in Wembley Stadium, on the 22nd of November.

1981 - Founded the Islamia Primary School in Salisbury Road in the north London area of Kilburn; after that he founded several Islamic secondary schools, and devoted his energy to providing an Islamic education to children and to charitable causes.

1985 - Decided to return to the public spotlight for the first time since his religious conversion at the historic Live Aid concert, inspired by the famine threatening Ethiopia. Though he had written a song especially for the occasion, his appearance was skipped when Elton John's set ran too long.

1989 - Addressed students at Kingston University in London about his journey to Islam and was asked about the controversy in the Muslim world and the fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie's execution on the 21st of February.

2005 - Delivered a keynote speech and performed at the Adopt-A-Minefield Gala in Düsseldorf on the 28th of May. The Adopt-A-Minefield charity, under the patronage of Sir Paul McCartney, works internationally to raise awareness and funds to clear landmines and rehabilitate landmine survivors. Yusuf Islam attended as part of an honorary committee which also included Sir George Martin, Sir Richard Branson, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Klaus Voormann, Christopher Lee and others.

2006 - Was named Songwriter of the Year for the second year running and received another award for the same song "The First Cut Is the Deepest" on the 11th of October.

2007 - Awarded the Mediterranean Prize for Peace in Naples, Italy. He received the award "as a result of the work he has done to increase peace in the world" on the 4th January.


Page last updated: 11:38am, 03rd Mar '07
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