Plotlines for VH1’s “Behind the Music” have invariably included tales of drink, drug and destruction, but one in the planning stages goes way off the beaten course. In this unlikely story, the world-famous musician chucks it all in the name of the Islamic faith — and actually stays away from the star-making machinery for more than two decades.
“Behind the Music” producers are scheduled to meet with ’70s superstar Cat Stevens next week to discuss a possible profile of the musician who became Yusuf Islam in 1978. The program would one of a handful of TV appearances Universal is hoping Stevens/Islam will make in conjunction with the re-release of his A&M catalog. VH1 said there is no deal in place at this time.
The interest in Stevens is tied to the 30th anniversary of the beginning of his U.S. recording career. UTV Records, a division of Universal Music Enterprises, will release “The Very Best of Cat Stevens” on March 28, beginning a rollout of Stevens’ classic ’70s titles throughout the year.
Stevens’ first album for A&M, “Mona Bone Jakon,” will be reissued May 2, and “Tea for the Tillerman” and “Teaser and the Firecat” will follow a week later. June will see the release of “Catch Bull at Four,” “Foreigner,” “Buddah and the Chocolate Box,” “Numbers” and “Izitso.” All of the titles, which were recorded between 1970 and 1977, are being remastered by Stevens in London. All of his albums went gold at the time, and his “Greatest Hits” disc has reached triple platinum.
A boxed set is planned for September or October. Yusuf Islam lives in London and records under his Islamic name; his last recording, “Prayers of the Last Prophet,” was issued in September on the U.K. label Resurgence.
Org keeps blues on green biz track
The business of blues is the impetus behind the Blues Music Assn., an organization created to bolster the profile of blues in the marketplace.
The org has already successfully convinced the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA) to track blues record sales as a separate category, which will give blues a specific market share as well as demographic information on blues consumers. Additionally, BMA is continuing blues demographic research in conjunction with SoundData, the consumer research arm of SoundScan.
Founded in October 1998, the BMA now has a membership of more than 125 companies and individuals. The association, under the guidance of Alligator Records prexy Bruce Iglauer, will have its first general membership meeting May 26 in Memphis.
Sony Music Russia bows in Moscow
Sony Music has established a wholly owned subsidiary, Sony Music Russia, with offices in Moscow and a staff of 14. Sony becomes the first major to have 100% ownership of a Russian affiliate.
The company will be run by managing director Andrei Sumin, who set up Dana Music in 1996. The company will sign new and established Russian artists.
Koch readies ‘Psycho’ soundtrack
The soundtrack to Lions Gate Films’ “American Psycho” will be released by Koch Entertainment on April 4. Besides a score by John Cale, the soundtrack will feature 1980s hits from artists such as New Order, the Cure, Genesis and David Bowie.
3 Tenors on tap at Vegas’ Mandalay
The Three Tenors — Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti — will usher in year No. 2 for the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas with a perf April 22. It will be their the only West Coast perf this year.
Pavarotti was the first performer in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, performing at the 12,000-seat venue in April. It has since hosted concerts by Bette Midler, the Eagles and others.
When the hotel opened on March 2 last year, entertainment at the on-site House of Blues included Bob Dylan and the Blues Brothers. Soon thereafter, “Chicago — The Musical” set up shop in the Mandalay Theater.