Thursday, November 3, 2011
Maroon 5 is a soul-influenced American band originating from Los Angeles, California. Comprising five members: Adam Levine (lead vocals, guitar), James Valentine (guitar, backing vocals), Jesse Carmichael (keyboards, backing vocals), Mickey Madden (bass guitar) and Matt Flynn (drums), the band is best known for hit songs including "Harder to Breathe", "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved".
Maroon 5 has won several awards for its debut album Songs About Jane. Released in June 2002, the album enjoyed major chart success, going gold, platinum, and triple platinum in many countries around the world. In support of Songs About Jane, Maroon 5 toured extensively throughout 2003 – 2005, in which a live album was released, entitled Live - Friday the 13th. Original member Ryan Dusick left the band in September 2006, due to injuries sustained by the constant touring, and was replaced by Matt Flynn.
After a hiatus from the music scene, Maroon 5 released their second studio album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long in May 2007, five years after Songs About Jane. The second set debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of nearly half a million. The band performed in various performances throughout the summer of 2007, in support of the album, and will be touring North America in Fall 2007 with The Hives as openers.
Controversy has surrounded both of Maroon 5's albums. Misogynistic lyrics, explicitly sexual videos, and explicit lyrics without a Parental Advisory label have all been issues.
Three members of Maroon 5 have known each other since attending junior high school together in Los Angeles. While attending Brentwood School, Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael joined up with Mickey Madden and Ryan Dusick to form Kara's Flowers a garage/grunge band that played its first gig at the Whisky a Go Go on September 16, 1995. At that time, Levine sang with a deeper "grunge" voice as opposed to the high-pitched vocals he is known for now.
The band signed with Reprise Records while still in high school and released its only album The Fourth World in the middle of 1997, just as three of the four members were about to graduate . A video was made for the opening track "Soap Disco", but it did not find success. Despite support slots on tours with Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger, the album failed to take off commercially and, in 1999, the band parted company with Reprise Records.
The four attended different colleges across the United States, experiences that would greatly influence the style and sound of Maroon 5. The four original members of Kara's Flowers remained in touch and started playing together again in 2001. Jesse Carmichael switched from guitar to keyboards, so a need arose for an additional guitarist. James Valentine, formerly with the band Square, joined them to fill that void.
When Valentine joined Kara's Flowers in 2001, the band adopted the name Maroon 5. The band played showcase gigs in New York City and Los Angeles.
The band signed with Octone Records, an independent record label in New York. They also signed a global music publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing.
The band recorded Songs About Jane at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles with record producer Matt Wallace. Most of the material on Maroon 5's debut album was directly inspired by Levine's tumultuous relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Jane.
The first single "Harder to Breathe" slowly started to pick up airplay which helped spur sales of the album. By March 2004, the album had reached the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 and "Harder to Breathe" had made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. The album peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 in August 2004, 26 months after its release; this was the longest period between an album's release and its initial Top 10 appearance since SoundScan results were included in the Billboard 200 in 1991.
Songs About Jane eventually reached #2 on the Australian albums charts while "Harder to Breathe" made the Top 20 singles charts in the U.S. and UK, and Top 40 in Australia and New Zealand. The album also eventually climbed to #1 in the UK and #2 in Australia. The second single, "This Love", reached #5 in the U.S., #3 in the UK, and #8 in Australian The third single, "She Will Be Loved", reached the Top 5 in both the U.S. and the UK, and went to #1 in Australia. The fourth single, "Sunday Morning", reached the Top 40 in the U.S., UK, and Australia.
Maroon 5 was constantly on tour after releasing their album in mid-2002. During this time, the band toured with Michelle Branch, Nikka Costa, Vanessa Carlton, Graham Colton, John Mayer, and The Rolling Stones. Maroon 5 also played Live 8 in Philadelphia in 2005. Their set included a cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" and frontman Levine performed with one of his heroes, and the closing act, Stevie Wonder.
Over the years of touring with the band, percussionist and back-up vocalist Ryan Dusick had been suffering from the touring life. His arms were injured and, for a part of some tours, he was not able to drum. In his section of Midnight Miles, Dusick detailed his pain and its progression through their tours. It was during the band's early tour that he took his first break with Ryland Steen taking his place for a few shows. He returned for the next tour but was forced to take another break because, as he writes, "I deteriorated to such a degree that both of my arms were pretty much useless." Josh Day was to be his replacement for a few shows while Dusick underwent tests to determine the cause of his pain. Nine months passed and Matt Flynn, assumed the position of what was initially a temporary replacement, but Dusick officially left Maroon 5 in September 2006 with Flynn replacing him permanently.
On May 22, 2007, Maroon 5's second album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, was released worldwide by A&M/Octone Records. According to Levine, the follow-up to Songs About Jane is "sexier and stronger", gaining inspiration from iconic 80s artists such as Prince, Shabba Ranks, Michael Jackson and Talking Heads. Before its release, "Makes Me Wonder" was the #1 selling single and video on iTunes.It was also the #1 selling album, with more than 50,000 digital pre-sales. After its release, the album broke iTunes sales records its week of release, selling over 101,000 albums.
The first single, "Makes Me Wonder", was released to radio March 27, 2007. The making of the music video was previewed on MTV's Total Request Live, and premiered on the show March 29. The song debuted at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100, the lowest debuting single of the group's five chart entries. In the first week of May, the single skyrocketed from a lowly position of 64 to #1, the biggest jump in Billboard history."Makes Me Wonder" has also achieved #1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs, Pop 100, and Hot Dance Club Play charts.
To support the album, the band performed on a "six-date club tour" in which they visited small venues in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, and New York City in early June 2007. They followed with a concert that streamed live via MSN Music in mid-June. Then, on July 9, the band announced plans for their 2007 It Won't Be Soon Before Long world tour set to begin September 29 in Detroit and conclude November 10 in Las Vegas. On July 10, they opened for The Police, in Miami,and followed with an acoustic performance at the Miami club, Studio A, the next day.
In the song "Harder to Breathe", parts of the lyrics could be interpreted by some as misogynistic. After accusing his lover of being "condescending and unnecessarily critical", Levine sings, "I have a tendency of getting very physical/So watch your step, 'cause if I do you'll need a miracle." Although the lyrics seem to imply that he will physically strike the woman to whom he is speaking, Levine has said that the song was written in response to the record company pressuring the band into writing more material, because none of the tracks were a single.
The music video for "This Love" featured lead singer Adam Levine and his then-girlfriend, model Kelly McKee, in extended sex scenes. The video used creative camera angles to show as much as possible without actually revealing any of the couple's genitalia, thereby avoiding possible FCC action. A version of the video where a stream of computer-generated flowers cover up more was created for more conservative markets. When asked about his feelings on this, Levine commented, "That was ridiculous."Bass player Madden said that it was "an absurd over-reaction."
More steamy scenes appeared in the video for "She Will Be Loved", which featured a love triangle and sexual imagery involving Levine and actress Kelly Preston, the wife of actor John Travolta. Their newest video for Wake Up Call, also contains such material, and in addition the video is also presented as a tralier for a fictional NC-17 rated movie.
Neither Songs About Jane nor It Won't Be Soon Before Long bears a Parental Advisory label, in spite of the strong language and explicit nature of lines in the singles "Harder to Breathe" and "Makes Me Wonder" respectively.