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Maroon 5

The torrent of broadly palatable blue-eyed soul that has been the key to Maroon 5’s chart domination may be unvarying, but the band’s story is one of chameleonic transformation. The group’s members first met in the early ‘90s at a private junior high in the L.A. ‘burbs, where they formed a group called Kara’s Flowers and emulated the grungy pop that then ruled the airwaves. Although they landed a major deal while most of the group was still in high school, the band was dropped by the late ‘90s. Two years and one immense musical awakening later singer Adam Levine and company surfaced again, ditching barn-big guitars and chugging riffs for RnB-infused pop marked by Levine’s sassy falsetto. They adopted some snappy duds and the Maroon 5 moniker, added guitar ringer James Valentine, and hit pay dirt. Though their 2002 debut Songs About Jane started slow, it eventually infected the top 40 with one hit after the next, making Maroon 5 a staple of the FM airwaves. A pair of live recordings followed, but a sophomore studio album didn’t come until 2007’s blockbusting It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. Keyboardist Jessie Carmichael took a hiatus from the group in 2012 Maroon 5 hasn’t slowed down; their single “Payphone” from the album Overexposed debuted on Levine’s television series The Voice.