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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Cat Stevens eyes Christmas No 1
Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)
Yusuf Islam's name appeared on a US terrorism "watch list" last month
Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, is favourite to have the British Christmas number one single with a duet with Ronan Keating.

Islam, who recently hit the headlines after being refused entry to the US, has not released a single for 30 years.

But the pair have now recorded a version of his 1970 song Father and Son, which was a hit for Keating's former band Boyzone in 1995.

It is 6/1 with William Hill to be the UK's top-selling Christmas single.

Their nearest rivals, according to the bookmaker, are U2 and Robbie Williams, both at 12/1.

CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE ODDS
Ronan Keating
6/1 - Ronan Keating (above) and Cat Stevens
12/1 - U2
12/1 - Robbie Williams
14/1 - Kylie Minogue
Source: William Hill
A spokesperson for Keating said the pair met after Islam took his son to see Boyzone perform his song on Top of the Pops.

"They got on really well and just stayed in touch over the years," she said.

"They were chatting one day, Ronan gave him a call, and it came up in conversation. He asked him if he'd be interested in doing it."

The duet marks the culmination of a quiet comeback to the music scene for Islam.

After having hits with songs like Moon Shadow, Peace Train and Morning Has Broken, he converted to Islam in 1977 and distanced himself from his past career.

But in 2003, he re-recorded Peace Train as an anti-war message, although it was only available for download.

And later that year, he played a rare concert at London's Royal Albert Hall.

But this September, he was barred entry to the US on "security grounds" after his name appeared on a terrorism "watch list". Islam, 56, denies supporting terrorism.

Keating, 27, released his greatest hits album in the UK on Monday.




SEE ALSO:
Cat Stevens seeks to clear name
08 Oct 04  |  Music
Cat Stevens case 'under review'
30 Sep 04  |  Music
Cat Stevens to take legal action
24 Sep 04  |  London
From Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam
22 Sep 04  |  Music


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