One day in 1975, Cat Stevens went for a swim off the coast of Malibu. When the tide started carrying him away from shore, the "Wild World" singer panicked. "I said, 'God, if you save me, I'll work for you,'" he said in a 2006 interview. Miraculously, a small wave carried Stevens to safety, thus beginning the British folkie's search for a higher purpose. After studying a number of faiths, he converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam the following year. In 1979, he shocked fans by walking away from music, though he stayed in the public eye, making headlines for his apparent support -- a misunderstanding, he claims -- of the fatwa against author Salmon Rushdie. He found more trouble in the post-9/11 world, such as a 2004 incident when he was denied entry into the U.S. after his name showed up on a no-fly list. His most recent album, Roadsinger, came out in 2009 and peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard charts.