Yusuf Islam, the 1960s and 70s pop-rock singer-songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, is returning with an album of new songs this fall. Released through Polydor Records, it will mark his first mai

As tipped here in March, Yusuf Islam, the 1960s and 70s pop-rock singer-songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, is returning with an album of new songs this fall. Released through Polydor Records, it will mark his first mainstream album for 28 years.

The as-yet untitled new album has been produced by Rick Nowels (Madonna, Dido). Its release will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first record as Cat Stevens, "I Love My Dog" (Deram) which peaked at No. 28 in the U.K. following its November 1966 release.

Born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London in 1947 to a Greek Cypriot father and a Swedish mother, he scored hits as Cat Stevens with "Morning Has Broken," "Lady D'Arbanville," "Wild World," "The First Cut is the Deepest" and "Moon Shadow." He converted to Islam and changed his name in 1977. Two years later, he retired from the music business.

"There were one hundred reasons for leaving the music industry back in 1979, not least because I had found what I was looking for spiritually. Today there are perhaps one hundred and one good reasons why I feel right making music and singing about life in this fragile world again," Islam says.

In 1981, Islam began writing religious material, and he has released 10 albums of drum-and-vocal performances to date on his own U.K.-based label Mountain of Light. That material compiled on the recent album "Footsteps in the Light."

His first secular recording since 1977 came in early 2005 with a new self-penned song, "Indian Ocean." Proceeds from the download-only track were donated to victims of the December 2004 tsunami. In April 2005, Stevens struck a deal with EMI Music Publishing to administer his entire song catalog, which had previously been handled by Sony/ATV Music.

"Much has changed, but today I am in a unique position as a looking glass through which Muslims can see the west and the west can see Islam," Islam adds. "It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross."