Maroon 5

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A mix of polished pop/rock and neo-soul sex appeal made Maroon 5 one of the most popular bands of the 2000s, with such radio-ready songs as “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” and “Makes Me Wonder” all topping the worldwide singles charts. Previously, bandmates Adam Levine (vocals/guitar), Jesse Carmichael (keyboards), Mickey Madden (bass), and Ryan Dusick (drums) had spent the latter half of the ’90s playing in the modern rock outfit Kara’s Flowers, releasing their debut album for Reprise Records while still attending high school. The record tanked, however, and Kara’s Flowers found themselves dropped from the Reprise roster. After briefly attending college, the bandmates regrouped as Maroon 5, added former Square guitarist James Valentine to the lineup, and embraced a more R&B-influenced sound. Several years later, the quintet had officially risen to the forefront of popular music with the multi-platinum releases of Songs About Jane and It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.

Songs About Jane propelled the band into the mainstream, but the album was not an immediate hit. Octone Records had signed the newly christened Maroon 5 in 2001, and debut album Jane appeared to lukewarm response in June 2002. “Harder to Breathe” became a radio staple 17 months later and was soon followed by the omnipresent “This Love,” whose steamy video (featuring frontman Levine and a barely clothed girlfriend) effectively wooed the TV-watching crowds at MTV. Songs About Jane entered the Billboard Top Ten in August 2004, more than two years after the album’s release, and subsequent singles “She Will Be Loved” and “Sunday Morning” helped the album move over 2.7 million copies by year’s end.

Maroon 5 toured exhaustively in support of Jane’s slow-developing success, issuing two stopgap recordings — 2004′s 1.22.03.Acoustic and 2005′s Live Friday the 13th — while canvassing the world alongside the Rolling Stones and John Mayer. Their schedule was especially trying on percussionist Dusick, who sustained wrist and shoulder injuries and was often unable to play. By fall 2006, Dusick had been officially replaced by Matt Flynn (the former drummer for Gavin DeGraw), and the revised band released its sophomore effort in May 2007. It Won’t Be Soon Before Long proved to be as popular as its predecessor, spinning off the chart-topping single “Makes Me Wonder” and solidifying the band’s position as pop/rock heavyweights. – Andrew Leahey

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