This week on “The Freak Power Ticket,” a tribute to the 40th anniversary of director Hal Ashby’s black comedy Harold and Maude and its musical wellspring Cat Stevens.

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, the British Steven Demetre Georgiou, who chose the stage name Cat Stevens, was a best-selling folk-rock singer-songwriter. By the late 1970s, Stevens converted to Islam and disappeared from the limelight. Nearly 30 years later, Cat Stevens, adopting the name Yusuf Islam, returned to pop music and began producing new material.

Host Ted Coe writes: “Cat Stevens’ influence, and that of Ashby’s second feature film, will be the focus of much of my broadcast.

You’ll hear a selection of Stevens covers: by indie and alternative rock-bands — from Death By Chocolate to Yo La Tengo and Elliott Smith — and by well-known figures like Elton John, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Jimmy Cliff too.

(Madadayo Films, France)

French Film-Revival Poster for "Harold and Maude" - Madadayo Films.

Interspersed with film clips, we’ll also discuss nods and allusions in a number of contemporary independent movies to Ashby’s groundbreaking story of a romance between a death-obsessed young-adult son of a socialite mother (Bud Cort) and a nearly eighty year-old free spirit (Ruth Gordon). The anti-war cult movie Harold and Maude is a key example of the American cinema renaissance of the 1970s.

Finally, Yusuf Islam has emerged as a significant Muslim personality, and his story sheds light on a number of controversies — from religious death-threats towards author Salman Rushdie to anti-Muslim discrimination since 9-11.

New tracks by Yusuf, and Cat Stevens classics, will round out this week’s playlist.”

“The Freak Power Ticket” airs Mondays in the summer from 11am-noon.

Update: Tuesday, August 9, 2011: Photobucket