Year of the Cat – Long Live Version

This is, to me, one of the greatest pop songs of all time, largely because I never get tired of it, and often find myself looking for it online – this is Al Stewart and Year of the Cat. It has engaging musical statements throughout.  And it has great lines, like this one:

She comes out of the sun
In a silk dress run-
-ning like a watercolor
In the rain

I love the wordplay of “sun” and “run”, and the imagery of how she is “running like a watercolor in the rain”. Great lyrics.

The first time I heard this song I didn’t know anything about Humphrey Bogart movies or Peter Lorre. Now I do, and if you’re curious, go watch Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon, and you’ll see them both, including Lorre “contemplating a crime”.

But one other observation about this song: in the original version, Stewart sings this line near the end:

You know one day you’re bound to leave her

I always hated that line, it sort of ruined the song for me. If you know you’re going to leave her, what are you doing with her in the first place? The guy’s a jerk! So while I always loved the music and most of the lyrics of Year of the Cat, I always hated that line.

So I find it interesting that in this version, Stewart changes the lyric:

You know one day you’re bound to lose her

Definitely an improvement! Now – the recorded version of this song is fantastic, but for the version with the modified lyric, here is Al Stewart performing it – live: