Maroon 5 released five studio albums in 13 years. From their 2002 debut Songs About Jane until last year’s V, Maroon 5 have enjoyed over a decade of success. But that’s not the entire story. Maroon 5 started out with a vastly different sound and look in their younger days. Before becoming Maroon 5, they released an album under Reprise Records as Kara’s Flowers. Kara refers to a girl the group had a crush on.
The Kara’s Flowers lineup consisted of four original members; three remain in Maroon 5. As Rolling Stone reported, Maroon 5 met while attending high school in Los Angeles. The first members included Adam Levine on guitar and vocals, Jesse Carmichael on guitar and then keyboard, Mickey Madden on bass, and Ryan Dusick on drums. The sound and look of the band is unrecognizable to today’s Maroon 5 — it’s a world apart. But it’s not a total surprise considering how much Maroon 5 evolve with each new album.
After a bit of polishing, they released their The Fourth World album while signed to Reprise Records during high school. They were inching closer to what would eventually become Maroon 5, but that release didn’t do much for the group. They were dropped by the label and almost disbanded. With no record deal and no more high school, the group split down the middle. Levine and Carmichael headed to New York to attend Five Towns College while Dusick and Madden stayed in California and went to UCLA.
They regrouped in 2000 and eventually enticed Octone Records to sign them. Octone thought the band was a good fit, but not before adding Berklee College of Music attendee James Valentine to hold the guitar, freeing Levine to focus on frontman duties. With this, the transformation to Maroon 5 was complete.
The new alterations in sound and image would allow Maroon 5 to shoot up the charts for a success they were never able to achieve as Kara’s Flowers. Over time, Maroon 5’s lineup changed, with the injured Ryan Dusick getting replaced by Matt Flynn on drums. Keyboardist and vocalist PJ Morton became an official member of Maroon 5 after touring and helping with the Overexposed album. Jesse Carmichael took a nearly three-year break but rejoined Maroon 5 in time for their most recent album.
Maroon 5 are now almost unrecognizable from those early days as Kara’s Flowers. They’ve grown in many different ways, especially lead vocalist Adam Levine. Upon taking the name Maroon 5, they brought forth a new era for themselves and the pop music world at large.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MTV]