Maroon 5 began life as a L.A. grunge band called Kara Flowers. During a gig at a party in Malibu, the band was discovered by an independent record producer. This eventually led to a record contract which eventually led to the release of the album The Fourth World in 1997. The project was an abject failure and the band nearly dissolved. But instead of breaking up, two of its members went to school in New York City where they were exposed to gospel, hip-hop and R&B music. When the band came back together in 2000 they incorporated these new influences into their music.
This new sound eventually attracted the attention of Octone Records who signed the band and had them change their name to Maroon 5. Despite a new direction, the band had only two songs that fit their new sound. So they toured for a year before entering the studio. Meanwhile, the label hounded the band for a lead single. Under the pressure to produce a hit, Maroon 5 delivered the track "Harder To Breathe." As a single the song reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Maroon 5 consists of Adam Levine (lead singer), Jess Carmichael (keyboards and guitar), Mickey Madden (bass guitar), James Valentine (lead guitar) and Matt Flynn (drums). Levin, Carmichael, and Madden met while they were still in high school. Valentine was added in 2001 to allow Levine to be the band's frontman. Maroon's original drummer was Ryan Dusick, but he left in 2006 after the rigors of touring proved too much for him to endure.
The band's first album as Maroon 5 was 2002's Songs About Jane. It contained several hit singles like "Harder To Breathe," "Sunday Morning," "This Love," and "She Will Be Loved." On the strength of that album the band won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best New Artists. Songs About Jane was followed by It Won't Be Soon Before Long, released in 2007, and Hands All Over released in 2010. Together the band has sold over 15 million albums worldwide.
Maroon 5 has tour quite extensively throughout their career. They have been on the road with The Hives, New Found Glory, Counting Crows, Sara Bareilles, and The Rolling Stones. In 2005, they performed at the American Film Institute's tribute to George Lucas. The filmmaker personally selected Maroon 5 because they were his kids' favorite band.
Maroon 5 has stirred controversy with their videos for "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved." The former video involved explicit loves scene between Levine and model Kelly McKee while the latter video involved similar imagery between Levin and actress Kelly Preston.