Breakin’ My Heart You’re Leavin’

‘Wild World’ was recorded by Cat Stevens for his fourth studio album Tea For The Tillerman which was released in 1970.   Stevens had reached the UK top 40 five times, but it wasn’t until early 1971 when Stevens got his first US hit, reaching #11 with this.  The song was not released as a single in the UK, and six months earlier Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff reached #8 when he recorded this song which was produced by Stevens.  Stevens wrote this song about searching for peace and happiness in a crazy world.  There was some speculation that much of the song was a message to Patti D’Arbanville, an actress he had been dating.  Stevens cleared this up when he spoke about the song on The Chris Isaak Hour in 2009, explaining that it was about his own journey into the wild world and that the actual inspiration for the song was his return to a career in music after nearly dying from a collapsed lung due to tuberculosis in 1969.  Cat Stevens 1967 debut album Matthew & Son reached top ten in the UK charts starting off his career as a young teen sensation.  Cat Stevens second album New Masters was considered to be a failure and his third album Mona Bone Jakon did not chart very well, so he was at a point in his career where he was trying to relate to his life to something that was beginning to happen again, and he was by himself going into the world.  He had done his career before, and this was sort of warning to himself that he should be careful this time around, because the demands of writing, recording, performing, publicity appearances, and touring was going to happen again.  He wasn’t writing about anybody specific, as it was more about him trying not to lose touch with home and reality, especially home.

The lyrics tell the story of a person speaking to a girl who has either grown up and is leaving her childhood home, or possibly ending a relationship and moving out.  He’s acting like he doesn’t want her to be sad, but there’s more going on here.  He’s given everything to her (his love and more), she’s breaking his heart and leaving, he’s trying to frighten her about going out on her own, he’s mocking her with the triviality of hoping she has nice things to wear, and finally he indicates that if she does leave, she’s a bad girl.  The song ends with him telling her that it is hard to get by just upon a smile and that he will always remember her like a child.

[Intro]
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, la, la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, la, la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, la, la-la, la

[Verse 1]
Now that I’ve lost everything to you
You say you wanna start something new
And it’s breakin’ my heart you’re leavin’
Baby, I’m grievin’
But if you wanna leave, take good care
Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

[Chorus]
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

[Verse 2]
You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do
And it’s breakin’ my heart in two
Because I never wanna see you sad, girl
Don’t be a bad girl
But if you wanna leave, take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware
Beware

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[Chorus]
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And it’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

[Bridge]
…la-la-la-la-la-la-la, la, la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la la la-la, la

Baby, I love you
But if you wanna leave, take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware
Beware

[Extended Chorus]
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And I’ll always remember you like a child, girl
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And it’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

Written for Thursday Inspiration #177 The Wild One where the prompt is wild.

15 thoughts on “Breakin’ My Heart You’re Leavin’

  1. Excellent post! I adored Cat Stevens back in the day and spent an amazing weekend in the Hamptons with him … and friends, of course! Lots of friends. Let me make that perfectly clear! I think you just gave me an idea for another story. Thanks for the inspiration, Jim!

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  2. Two great versions of a fantastic song, from an incredibly good album. I met the great man back in 2010. The health trust I worked for was doing some project work supporting children at the school he runs, and I told him he was a major part of the soundtrack to my uni days. He gave me a wry smile and replied “I think you’ve just dated both of us.” Lovely man.

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