The man behind the beloved song "Maybe Tomorrow"
Terry Bush talks about how widespread and humbling the response from Maybe Tomorrow has been, even 30 years after its creation
While the name Terry Bush may not be instantly recognizable, if you’ve seen a certain Canadian television series about the world’s most amazing dog, chances are you know his music.
The Littlest Hobo
The show was The Littlest Hobo, which followed the weekly adventures of a stray German shepherd who roamed aimlessly from town to town. But it was the accompanying theme song, Maybe Tomorrow (which opened and closed every episode) that easily ranks among the best tunes ever associated with television.
While the origin and ownership of the show’s titular star was never explained to viewers, Hobo literally saved the day in each episode, aiding local law enforcement to help capture all manner of nefarious types: foiling ruthless kidnappers or disarming various con men, cattle rustlers and reprobates of all manner. In one episode, Hobo was even enlisted to help track down the ever-elusive Sasquatch.
Getting the Gig
While the show’s premise may have been hard to swallow, the catchy theme song literally took on a life of its own, something that was far from certain early on.
“I was asked if I would write a theme,” recalls Bush. “I was doing jingles at the time so I asked a writer friend of mine, John Crossen to write the lyrics which we now all now know and love. The powers that be hated our song and went to New York and got a jazzy-type song written and recorded. Needless to say, it didn't fit the show. They came back to me and we changed the arrangement and voila!”
A Firm Place in Pop Culture
Maybe Tomorrow has become known around the world since its initial recording in 1978.
“The song has been covered by many and it continues to do very well,” Bush tells me of the myriad of recorded versions. “Scooch, a very popular group in the UK; a nice folk version by Vancouver’s Reid Jamieson; a really nice soft version by a folk group called F&M. This version is used in the Canadian movie, Goon and the song was used on Canadian Idol and an episode of Corner Gas."
Though Hobo’s run has long since ended, the theme continues to live on through syndication.
“About 12 years ago I heard that it was being used for an ad for the National Westminster Bank in the U.K. I followed up and found out that the song is hugely popular over there. I released a CD with a new full-length recording with a new verse while remaining as faithful as possible to the original arrangement. Last year it was used in an ad for Dulux Paints in the UK and Maybe Tomorrow was #1 on the iTunes Country chart and #1 on the Amazon Country chart!"
Currently retired and living in Ajax, Ontario, Bush still rides a wave of popularity based on his iconic theme, one for which he wisely retained ownership years back.
“I was not paid for writing the song and consequently retained my writing royalties,” he tells me. “A friend back then advised me to do that and I'll be forever thankful for his advice. I had absolutely no idea of the phenomenal and ongoing response to this tune and am constantly amazed and awestruck at the effect it has had on so many people. I have, and continue to receive, wonderful letters about how much this song means to so many people. It’s truly humbling.”