Have You Heard?: The Stereophonics' "MAYBE TOMORROW" [2003]

Why HERC hadn't heard of this band any sooner than last year, he can't say. An avid follower of the British music scene since the mid-70s, he should have noticed their five consecutive #1 albums on the UK Albums chart and their 30 charting singles.   

Guess how many of each format hit American charts?  

Three albums, with none of them rising higher than #127 on the Top 200, and three singles that landed outside of the Top 20 on the Modern Rock and Adult Pop charts. Sixteen years into their career and they are criminally unknown in the largest music consuming country in the world.
This song first popped up on Spotify Radio which HERC had seeded with "Do Ya Know What I Mean?" by Oasis, who also only achieved a modicum of success in the States despite eight #1 albums and eight #1 singles in their native land.  

Within a month, HERC had all 7 Stereophonics albums from 1997-2009, including the Super-Deluxe triple disc reissues of their first two albums.  And then in March 2013, he acquired the Deluxe Edition of their latest, Graffiti On A Train.

HERC will be the first to admit the albums do not hold up well to straight-through listening but the singles do shine like jewels; thus HERC's favorite Stereophonics album is their double disc hits compilation, Decade In The Sun.

They whiskey-soaked tone and timbre of Kelly Jones voice is the first thing HERC noticed.  It reminds him of early Rod Stewart. That becomes all the more noticeable when you hear the Stereophonics version of "Handbags & Gladrags", which Stewart had covered in 1972.

The second thing that draws HERC in is the music and on "Maybe Tomorrow" especially, the guitar solo. The rest of the musical bed is a gliding affair with the pleasantly incessant ooh ooh vocal backing adding a different texture to the song, vaguely recalling 10cc's "I'm Not In Love".  Then at two minutes in, that guitar solo soars above the din before ending in a wah-wah war with itself.  Lead singer and songwriter Jones plays it on the album but has hired guns perform it live.  Or he does it solo, acoustically.

A clue as to why HERC never heard Stereophonics lies in the way they were apparently marketed in this country: they were included on at least 6 television soundtrack albums but HERC only watched two of the shows: Veronica Mars and Rescue Me and neither of the songs they served up was half as catchy as "Maybe Tomorrow" which was apparently used on One Tree Hill, but not included on any of the soundtrack discs from the show, as well as several soundtracks to movies HERC never saw.  The equally catchy "Have A Nice Day" from 2001 was included on the Roswell soundtrack album.

[Faithful viewers or loyal readers or whatever cool name you call yourselves will remember that HERC included "Maybe Tomorrow" on a Top Gear playlist in this post.]

Let HERC know how big a fan you are of Stereophonics in the Comments.

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