The Meaning Behind “Maybe Tomorrow” by Stereophonics and Why the Band Expanded Its Sound to Include Soul and R&B Influences

By the time Stereophonics released their single “Maybe Tomorrow,” they were already playing stadiums in the UK.

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When they debuted in 1997, Stereophonics threaded the transition away from Britpop. They adopted Liam Gallagher’s sneering vocals and fused them with American alternative guitar riffs. Though they come from Wales, they sound more like Britain’s guitar bands than, say, fellow Cool Cymru groups like Catatonia or Manic Street Preachers.  

Yet, “Maybe Tomorrow,” one of their biggest songs, doesn’t sound like the pub anthems that filled the stadiums, and their musical transformation wouldn’t be the only thing to change.


The narrator in “Maybe Tomorrow” has the blues, but rather than dwell in despair, he finds beauty in the things around him. Sometimes, staring at a cloud or a rainbow is all it takes.

Though the cause of his despair is unknown, he finds freedom in nature, and it doesn’t cost him anything to walk outside and stare at the sky. It brings to mind a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: “Live each season as it passes, breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

I’ve been down and I’m wondering why
These little black clouds keep walking around
With me. With me
It wastes time and I’d rather be high
Think I’ll walk me outside and buy a rainbow smile
But be free, they’re all free

Whatever is causing his anxiety can wait until tomorrow. Perhaps after some time outside, he’ll find clarity and acquiescence. Regardless, Kelly Jones’ guitar chords make the whole vibe feel easier than the anguish the narrator is trying to escape.

So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home

Old Welsh Soul

Stereophonics’ fourth album You Gotta Go There to Come Back (2003) was a musical departure for the band. Singer and guitarist Jones produced the album, and he hoped to capture the energy of the band’s live performances.

Meanwhile, Jones wanted to expand the group’s sound from traditional UK rock to include his R&B and soul influences.

Jones told Drowned in Sound, “I was really into soul music—it’s not something I’m ashamed about. I was brought up on Stevie Wonder, and I love Talking Book and all the overdubs on it, and all that freestyling Marvin Gaye thing. I’d always wanted to make a record like that, and this was the first one I produced, so that’s probably why I went, ‘F–k it, I’m just going to do it.’”

Raiding His Older Brothers’ Record Collection

He said his older brothers—Kevin and Lee—and their record collection influenced the album. Jones also said You Gotta Go There to Come Back was the band’s best recording experience, and when he listens to the album now, he’s immediately drawn back to their time in the studio.

“Maybe Tomorrow” has a slow jam feel to Jones’ vocal performance, and the Rhodes piano is smoothly reminiscent of The Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark.” Jones’ tranquil and sparse production also echoes Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”

A Tragic End for Childhood Friends

Stereophonics formed in a village in South Wales called Cwmaman. The group began as a cover band with Jones and drummer Stuart Cable. Eventually, Richard Jones (no relation to Kelly) joined as their bass player, and after struggling to find (and keep) a second guitarist, they continued as a trio.

They became one of the biggest-selling Welsh rock bands, with eight UK No. 1 albums. Jones’s boozy vocals and his blend of classic rock and pop songwriting are engineered for the UK summer festival season.

However, while touring in support of You Gotta Go There to Come Back, they fired Cable. He began missing shows in 2003, which resulted in Jones and Jones performing their sets acoustically.

Steve Gorman from The Black Crowes sat in on drums until Javier Weyler joined as a full-time member. (Weyler left in 2012; Jamie Morrison is their current drummer.)

In 2010, Cable was found dead at his home after choking on his vomit following a night of heavy drinking. He was 40 years old.

Little Black Clouds

“Maybe Tomorrow” is one of Stereophonics’ defining songs, closing a chapter in the band’s career. You Gotta Go There to Come Back topped the UK albums chart, and the single reached No. 3.

The camaraderie of the album’s recording sessions and Stereophonics’ continued commercial rise coincided with the band firing their childhood friend.

While they continued to top the charts with nearly every album release, Cable’s life fell tragically into addiction. The band wouldn’t have formed without Cable. At the same time, they couldn’t move forward with him.

“Maybe Tomorrow” is a ruminating soul song with a character down in the dumps. Thinking about Stuart Cable, sometimes real life is tragically sad, too.

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Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Alfa Romeo

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