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I Want to Live in a Wigwam by Cat Stevens: Great B-sides

Cat Stevens‘ work has endured because his low-key songs are relateable and accessible. Stevens has explored different styles over the course of his career – he started as a teen pop idol in the 1960s, and moved towards progressive rock with 1970s albums like Foreigner

But Stevens is most widely cherished for his pair of early 1970s singer-songwriter albums; Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat. Most of Stevens’ best-loved songs are clustered on these two records, and both play better than his Greatest Hits.

The songs flowed for Stevens during this time – his first singer-songwriter album, Mona Bone Jakon (titled after Stevens’ penis), was released in April 1970, Tillerman in November 1970, while the last sessions for Teaser and the Firecat were recorded in March 1971.

‘I Want to Live in a Wigwam’ was the b-side for ‘Morning Has Broken’, from Teaser and the Firecat. It was possibly left off of Teaser and the Firecat because of its similarity in tone to ‘Moonshadow’ – a wistful, child-like ditty, yearning for simplicity. Its of the same vein as Stevens’ better known songs from the early 1970s – a tasteful folk-rock arrangement, coupled with a spiritual quest for deeper meaning.

Despite its initial relegation to b-side status, ‘I Want to Live in a Wigwam’ was later included in the 1984 compilation Footsteps in the Dark – Greatest Hits Vol. 2. It was nestled among hits like ‘Father and Son’ and ‘Where Do The Childen Play?’, and rarities like Stevens’ songs from the Harold and Maude soundtrack.

‘I Want to Live in a Wigwam’ was also included by NZ actor and musician Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) playing favourites on a Radio New Zealand show. Clement also selected songs by Oneohtrix Point Never, Kate Bush, and The Front Lawn.

I’d like to live in a wigwam
Yes I’d like to live in a wigwam
I’d like to live in a wigwam and
Dance round the totem pole

I’d like to live in an igloo
Yes, I’d like to live in an igloo
I’d like to live in an igloo and
Fish from an ice hole

I’d like to ride on a caravan
I’d like to take a ride on a caravan
Yes, I’d like to ride on a caravan and
Sing with the gypsies

I’d like to live on a commune
Yes, I’d like to live on a commune
I’d like to live on a commune and
People can call me a hippie

I don’t want to live in a palace
No, I don’t want to live in no palace
Oh I don’t want to live in no palace
There’s too many empty rooms

I don’t want to live in a barracks
I don’t want to live in a barracks
Oh I don’t want to live in a barracks
And wake up to the bugle tune

I’d just like to live in a tree hut
Yes, I’d like to live in a tree hut
Yes, I’d like to live in a tree hut and
Listen to the sound of the birds

I don’t want to live in a jailhouse
Don’t want to bide my time in no jailhouse
No I don’t want to live in no jailhouse and
Be fed bread through the bars

I’m glad I’m alive am I
I’m glad I’m alive am I
I’m glad I’m alive
I’m glad I’m alive
I’m glad I’m alive am I

We gotta get our heads up in the sky
We gotta get our heads up in the sky
We gotta get our heads up
Gotta give it time
We gotta get our heads up in the sky

Gotta get to heaven get a guide
We gotta get to heaven get a guide
We gotta have a guide
We gotta get to heaven get a guide

16 thoughts on “I Want to Live in a Wigwam by Cat Stevens: Great B-sides Leave a comment

  1. I had the greatest hits you mentioned in the 80s and I had this one… good song. His songs are so likable.
    He can elevate songs by his voice.

    I had Teaser and the Firecat and Tea for the Tillerman… how is Mona Bone Jakon? Funny about the name.

    Liked by 1 person

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