The TRUE story of Stereophonics' Local Boy In The Photograph

13 April 2020, 14:15 | Updated: 29 April 2020, 13:00

We delve into the tragic tale behind one of the Welsh bands most-loved classic tracks.

Despite Local Boy In The Photograph being over 20 years old, the track remains a firm favourite with Stereophonics fans.

Released in 1997 from the band's debut album, Word Gets Around, the Kelly Jones-penned track tells the tragic story of a boy who was once known to the Welsh band - comprised of founding members Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and the late Stuart Cable.

Stereophonics in their home town of Cwmaman Wales, 1997: Stuart Cable , Kelly Jones and Richard Jones
Stereophonics in their home town of Cwmaman Wales, 1997: Stuart Cable , Kelly Jones and Richard Jones. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Like many of the tracks on Stereophonics' first album, it was inspired by real-life events in and around their area.

It was "local boy" Paul David Boggiss' tragic suicide - which was caused by a train travelling between Cwmbach and Aberdare - that provided the inspiration for this particular single.

Speaking on television program Songbook in 2011, the frontman explained: "I used to play kind of county football […] and there was a kid that used to play right back. I got to know him pretty well - he was a really cool kid and he was a good looking kid. He was kind of one of those ones that you looked and thought, ‘He’s got it all.’”

“And then few years later we found out he jumped in front of a train and we were all a bit shocked by it and we read about it in the local paper. There was a picture of him smoking a - which I think it was a joint actually. And That's the picture they used and it was the 'local boy' in the photograph."

He added: “I’d never really known anybody our age to do that, to kind of end their life and nobody really knew why he ended his life. And when you’re 18 or 19 you’re quite naive and you just write everything down.”

The Dakota singer continued: “And it was just more about a celebration of his life than was about his death, really, about the kid sitting on the bank drinking, and lots of imagery of the seasons and the clocks going back and I that’s when I found that descriptive writing is what people would stop and listen to really.”

"And all the friends lay down the flowers
Sit on the banks and drink for hours
Talk of the way they saw him last
Local boy in the photograph"

Local Boy in The Photograph might be 23 years old, but thanks to Kelly Jones' immortal storytelling, the track is just as pertinent and poignant today.

If you identify with the topics raised in this article, we encourage you to reach out to the Samaritans or any of the other organisations listed below:

The Samaritans
Tel: 116 123
samaritans.org

Mind
MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393
mind.org.uk

Papyrus
HOPELINEUK – 0800 068 4141
papyrus-uk.org

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Helpline: 0800 58 58 58
thecalmzone.net

Maytree
Tel: 020 7263 7070
maytree.org.uk