This series caused me quite a few headaches. I mean, how in the world was I going to pick ONE shoulda-been-a-hit song out of all the albums that I’ve digested over the years? When I first put pen to paper, I was going to go for the okey-doke and pick one of the million Michael Jackson or Prince songs that weren’t released as singles. Then I changed my mind and decided to go for something a little off the beaten path, like “Shiver” from Coldplay. Finally, I decided to settle on Wheel, for the simple fact that it’s probably the song that affects me most emotionally.

John Mayer gets a bad rap. Maybe he started his career off as a Dave Matthews clone (and there’s nothing wrong with that-I love Dave), but at this point in the game, there’s no comparison between the two at all. While I roll my eyes at the Hollywood starlet-dating tabloid-friendly side of John, his music is good enough that I’ll forgive the obvious fact that he revels in being a “star” and enjoys all the trappings that come with.

is the final track from his excellent sophomore album, Heavier Things,and it’s based on a simple premise that I learned nearly twenty years ago from my 8th grade teacher, Mr. Waxman. If you put good in (or, in this case, love) it will eventually come back to you. It’s acted as a soothing balm during times of disappointment and heartbreak, and also keeps me firm in the belief that even goodbyes don’t necessarily last forever.

If you never stop when you say goodbye/Give it time, you just might find/You will wave hello again

It’s a little hokey, sure, but how many of us base our life philosophies on hokiness? I’d be willing to bet that most of us do.

Wheel is a pretty lengthy acoustic ballad, and I’m not 100% sure it would have even been a radio hit had it been released, but then again I never figured Daughters (probably the worst song on Heavier Things) to be a huge hit either, much less a Grammy-winning Song of the Year. The imagery used in this song is almost cinematic, and I would’ve loved to have seen a video for Wheel. As it stands, though, it’s a forgotten album track buried at the end of John Mayer’s second album, and although I think the chance may have been missed to make this song a hit, that’s OK, because I can imagine the song is my little secret. Well, after I write this, it probably won’t be as much of a secret anymore, but you get what I’m saying, right?

Columbia Records, methinks you missed out on a smash…or at least the opportunity to have John Mayer viewed as a stellar songwriter a short time before everyone caught on.

More On “The Best You’ve Never Heard” week
The Best You’ve Never Heard – Introduction