Writing credit for "Morning Has Broken" has occasionally been erroneously attributed to Cat Stevens, who popularised the song abroad. The familiar piano arrangement on Stevens' recording was performed by Rick Wakeman, a classically trained keyboardist best known for his tenures in the English Progressive Rock band Yes.
In 2000, Wakeman released an instrumental version of "Morning Has Broken" on an album of the same title. That same year he gave an interview on BBC Radio Five Live in which he said he had agreed to perform on the Cat Stevens track for £10 and was "shattered" to be omitted from the credits, adding that he never received the money either.
When shaping "Morning Has Broken" for recording, Stevens had to start with a hymn which took around 45 seconds to sing in its basic form. Producer Paul Samwell-Smith told him he could never put something like that on an album, and that it needed to be at least three minutes in length. Although an acoustic demo exists of Stevens playing an early version which lasts almost three minutes. Prior to the actual recording Stevens heard Wakeman play something in the recording booth. It was a rough sketch of what would later become "Catherine Howard". Stevens told Wakeman that he liked it and wanted something similar as the opening section, the closing section and, if possible, a middle section as well. Wakeman told Stevens he could not as it was his piece destined for a solo album, but Stevens persuaded him to adapt his composition. The familiar piano intro and general structure of the piece may be attributed to Stevens or to Wakeman.
On his return to performance as Yusuf Islam, Stevens made a payment to Wakeman and apologized for the original non-payment, which arose from confusion and a misunderstanding on the record label's part. On a documentary aired on British television, Wakeman stated that he felt Stevens's version of "Morning Has Broken" was a very beautiful piece of music that had brought people closer to religious truth. He expressed satisfaction in having contributed to this.