Biography by Andrew Leahey
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 charts worldwide . 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 the debut album Jane received a lukewarm response upon its 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 finally entered the Billboard Top Ten in August 2004, more than two years after the album's release, and subsequent singles like "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 less popular than its predecessor (which had sold more than four million copies in the U.S. alone), but it still enjoyed double-platinum certification while spinning off the chart-topping single "Makes Me Wonder." Maroon 5 had cemented their status as pop/rock heavyweights, and they now had the powerful connections to prove it. Released in late 2008, Call and Response: The Remix Album reinterpreted the band's catalog with remixes by such influential figures as Mary J. Blige, Mark Ronson, and Pharrell Williams.
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