The First Cut Is the Deepest

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Song by Cat Stevens from the album New Masters
Published 1967
Released December 1967
Recorded October 1967
Genre Rock
Length 3:03
Label Deram Records/Decca Records
Writer(s) Cat Stevens
Producer(s) Mike Hurst
New Masters track listing

Side 1

  1. "Kitty"
  2. "I'm So Sleepy"
  3. "Northern Wind"
  4. "The Laughing Apple"
  5. "Smash Your Heart"
  6. "Moonstone"

Side 2

  1. "The First Cut Is the Deepest"
  2. "I'm Gonna Be King"
  3. "Ceylon City"
  4. "Blackness of the Night"
  5. "Come on Baby (Shift That Log)"
  6. "I Love Them All"

"The First Cut Is the Deepest" is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in May 1967. Stevens' own version originally appeared on his album New Masters in December 1967.

The song has been widely covered and has become a hit single for four different artists: P. P. Arnold (1967), Keith Hampshire (1973), Rod Stewart (1977) and Sheryl Crow (2003).

Cat Stevens version

Stevens made a demo recording of "The First Cut Is the Deepest" in 1965, but originally hoped to become a songwriter.[1] He wrote the song earlier to promote his songs to other artists, but did not record it as his own performance until early October 1967 with guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, and it did not appear until his second album, New Masters, was released in December 1967. He sold the song for £30 to P.P. Arnold, and it became a huge hit for her,[2] as well as an international hit for Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, and Sheryl Crow. The song has won Stevens songwriting awards, including two consecutive ASCAP songwriting awards for "Songwriter of the Year" in 2005 and 2006.[3]


P. P. Arnold version

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Single by P. P. Arnold
B-side "Speak to Me"
Released May 1967
Label Immediate Records
Writer(s) Cat Stevens
P. P. Arnold singles chronology
"Everything's Gonna Be Alright" "The First Cut Is the Deepest"
"The Time Has Come"

American expatriate singer P. P. Arnold had the first hit with the song, reaching number 18 on the UK Singles Chart[4] with her version in May 1967, well ahead of the song appearing on Stevens' album. The Arnold hit featured an up-tempo, soulful vocal set against harpsichord, horns, and strings.

Keith Hampshire version

Keith Hampshire had the first chart-topping hit of the song when his recording of it became a number one hit in Canada in 1973, reaching the top of the RPM 100 national singles chart on 12 May of that year.[5] This recording also charted in the US, albeit outside the top 40.

Rod Stewart version

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Single by Rod Stewart
from the album A Night on the Town
B-side "I Don't Want to Talk About It"
"The Balltrap" (US)
Released February 1977
Format 7-inch
Recorded 1976
Genre Rock
Length 3:21 (single version)
Label Riva/Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Cat Stevens
Producer(s) Tom Dowd
Rod Stewart singles chronology
"I Don't Want to Talk About It"
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
"You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)"

Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, United States, and it appeared on his 1976 album A Night on the Town. It was released as a double A-side single with "I Don't Want to Talk About It". It was a huge success, and spent four weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart in May 1977,[6] number 11 in April in Canada, and also reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. In a departure from the original, Stewart excludes the concluding "But when it comes to being loved, she's first" from the refrain. In 1993, he recorded a live version during a session of MTV Unplugged. This was included on the album Unplugged...and Seated.

Chart performance

Weekly singles charts

Chart (1977) Peak
Australia KMR [7] 19
Canada RPM 11
Germany 1
Ireland 4
Netherlands 1
New Zealand 5
UK [8] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [9] 21
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 3
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[10] 17

Year-end charts

Chart (1977) Rank
Australia [7] 70
Canada [11] 110
UK [12] 4
U.S. (Joel Whitburn's Pop Annual) [13] 136

Sheryl Crow version

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
Single by Sheryl Crow
from the album The Very Best of Sheryl Crow
Released 20 October 2003
Recorded 2003
Genre Pop, pop rock, country
Length 3:44
Label A&M
Writer(s) Cat Stevens
Producer(s) John Shanks
Sheryl Crow singles chronology
"It's so Easy"
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
"Light in Your Eyes"
Audio sample
file info · help

Sheryl Crow's version was the first of two singles released to promote her 2003 The Very Best of Sheryl Crow compilation album. It became one of Crow's biggest radio hits, remaining 36 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, and was also Crow's first Top 40 solo country hit, following the success of her hit duet with Kid Rock, "Picture". The song topped the airplay charts in the US and became a platinum seller, also reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and went to number one on the AC chart for two nonconsecutive weeks. It was also featured during an episode of HBO's The Sopranos and The CW's One Tree Hill, in which she also guest starred. It was used for the closing of the final episode of Showtime on ABS-CBN as the talent show format on 28 January 2012 and in the 2005 film Must Love Dogs.

Music video

The Sheryl Crow music video for "The First Cut Is the Deepest", directed by Wayne Isham. Filmed in southern Utah, the video features Crow in a rocky desert singing with her guitar, riding horses and interacting in a cowboy environment. Crow's single was nominated for a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards,[14] losing to "Sunrise" by Norah Jones.

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (2003–04) Peak
Australian ARIA Charts[15] 50
Austrian Singles Chart 31
Irish Singles Chart 13
New Zealand RIANZ Charts 19
Poland (ZPAV)[16] 42
UK Singles Chart 37
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 14
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[18] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[19] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[20] 35
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[21] 10

Year-end charts

Chart (2004) Rank
US Billboard Hot 100 28

Preceded by
"The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
(Keith Hampshire version)

12 May 1973
Succeeded by
"The Cisko Kid" by War (band)
Preceded by
"Free" by Deniece Williams
UK number one single
(Rod Stewart version)

21 May 1977 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lucille" by Kenny Rogers
Preceded by
"You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban
US Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
(Sheryl Crow version)

10 April 2004 (first run)
1 May 2004 (second run)
Succeeded by
"You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban
"100 Years" by Five for Fighting


  1. Islam, Yusuf (2008). "Biography 1964". Official Website for Yusuf Islam. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  2. Marrin, Minette (26 September 2004). "Profile: Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens: Not so much a zealot more a lost musician". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
  3. "Yusuf Islam Named Songwriter of the Year at ASCAP Awards in London". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  4. Ruhlmann, William. "Cat Stevens Biography on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  6. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 339–40. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. 1 2 "Australian Chart Book". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  8. "Top 100 1977". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  9. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  10. CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 02, 19YY at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  11. "Top 200 Singles of '77 – Volume 28, No. 11, December 31 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  12. "Top 100 1977 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  13. Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  14. Archived 10 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. Steffen Hung. "Sheryl Crow - The First Cut Is The Deepest". Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  16. "Lista Przebojów Trójki - Polskie Radio Online". 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  17. "Sheryl Crow – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Sheryl Crow.
  18. "Sheryl Crow – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Sheryl Crow.
  19. "Sheryl Crow – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Sheryl Crow.
  20. "Sheryl Crow – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Sheryl Crow.
  21. "Sheryl Crow – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Sheryl Crow.

External links

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