Past, Present and Future is Al Stewart's fifth studio album, released in October 1973 in the UK and in May 1974 in the US. This album is considered Stewart's first "major album" and it reached #133 on the Billboard Rock Album chart in 1974. He had taken on a different approach from his previous, folkier work, an approach that would stay with him for most of his career. All songs on this record have historical themes, each song representing a decade of the 20th century. The final song, "Nostradamus," is about the famous supposed prophet and his prophecies.
In the programme for the UK concert tour that promoted the album, Stewart is quoted as saying "My first four albums have been, for me, an apprenticeship. The new album…..is my thesis". It states that the album "is set for release on CBS in early October. 'Terminal Eyes' is released as a single on September 28th."
The album was performed in its entirety live at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England on 16 May 2015 as part of Al Stewart's UK tour; the performance at the Royal Albert Hall also featured the live performance of the album Year of the Cat in its entirety.
The UK cover (CBS) is a gatefold affair, with a simple photo of Stewart leaning on a mantelpiece. The photo was taken by photographer and film director Mario Grattarola at the Geffreye Museum in London. The US album cover (Janus Records), by Hipgnosis and George Hardie, is a photography-like rendition of the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange using his Cloak of Levitation to travel through a hole created in the air into an alternative universe.
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