The story of Stereophonics is not so much about music, it's more of a story of friendships grown and lost and of determined characters believing in their own talent, wanting to set their own agenda, knowing that to rise beyond the depressed mining areas of the South Wales valleys was something that was solely down to their own ambition.
Kelly Jones, Richard Jones (no relation) and Stuart Cable knew each other since childhood, and each shared a love of music, playing in numerous bands from their early teens. Finally, in 1996 they named themselves Stereophonics and Kelly's bittersweet lyrics about life in the south Wales valleys attracted the attention of Richard Branson's V2 label.
Their first single Looks Like Chaplin/More Life In A Tramp's Vest was released in 1996. Produced in very limited numbers it sparked much interest in the band, helping to secure support slots with the Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene, Skunk Anansie and The Who.
In March 1997 the second single, Local Boy In The Photograph, hit the shops reaching a respectable No. 51 in the charts. The band kept working hard and in the next months played more than 100 gigs. The debut album, Word Gets Around, came out in August 1997 and reached number 6. The next three singles (More Life In A Tramps Vest, A Thousand Trees and Traffic) went all went into the Top 40 singles chart.
The band had arrived.
The hard work of 1997 was recognised by Radio 1 listeners when the band received the 1998 Brit Award for Best New Band in the UK.
Since then, the albums 'Performance and Cocktails', 'Just Enough Education to Perform', 'You Gotta Go There To Come Back', 'Language Sex Violence Other?' and now 'Pull The Pin' have secured Stereophonics' place as one of the UK's leading rock acts.
Double CD released December 3rd. Thirty tracks follow the intrepid bikers on their journey south from John O'Groats to South Africa.
Find out more about the artists whose music was specially chosen to feature on the Long Way Down television series, DVD and CD. Read the background to the musicians and buy digital downloads of tracks heard on the series.
Catch up with what is happening to Ewan and Charley episode by episode and trace the music you can hear as the journey unfolds week by week.