Maroon 5 is nothing short of a rocketship of a success story. When they first gained attention in the early 2000s, the band was heralded as one of the biggest bands of their time due to their phenomenal success in a relatively short time.
They very quickly proved that they were not only a band for their decade but for all time. Although, the road was not a yellow brick one. It would probably bear a closer resemblance to… well, maroon since it’d be paved with blood, sweat, and tears.
But what are the Best Maroon 5 Songs of All Time? Let’s find out, but before let’s take a little look at the history of the band.
Kids from the beach…
Originally formed as “Kara’s Flowers,” the band consisted of Adam Levine, Ryan Dusick, Jesse Carmichael, and Mickey Madden. A high school group named after a girl the members had a collective crush on.
The band performed locally where they could. Once, while playing at a beach party in Malibu, independent producer Tommy Allen approached them. He offered to produce a full record with his then partner John DeNicola, the songwriter and producer who had gained some notoriety thanks to his work on “Dirty Dancing.”
The resulting album was eventually heard by producer Rob Cavallo and his team. He liked what he heard and eventually offered Kara’s Flowers a deal to re-record their album and release it under Reprise Records.
High school musical?
The Fourth World was released during Levine and Madden’s senior year at Brentwood High School in Los Angeles. By this time, the sound had changed dramatically. Despite this, the members and the management had high hopes.
Unfortunately, the single “Soap Disco,” and subsequently the album, did nothing. It sold around five thousand copies, and the band was dropped after six months. The band was discouraged and decided to focus on college.
Dusick and Madden attended college in Los Angeles, while Levine and Carmichael went to Long Island, New York, to attend Five Towns College. During this time, the urban music scene around them would influence the songs subsequently written by Levine and Carmichael.
Back for another round…
Reuniting to try once again in 2001, the band had some new flavors added to their mix. This resulted in producer Tim Sommer hearing and signing Kara’s Flowers to MCA records on a demo deal.
The resulting three tracks were played to executives. But, once again, the band was met with rejection. Those three songs remain in obscurity to this day.
The band resolved to try and make a demo of their own. They sent it to different labels, which only saw them meet with more and more rejection. It was not until the demo ended up in the hands of executives at A&M Octone Records that things would start happening for the band.
Landing on a label…
They were looking for talent to sign. One exec, Ben Berkman, had been given a bunch of demos by a colleague who had worked at Columbia Records. Kara’s Flowers was amongst them.
Berkman wasn’t a stranger to the group. He’d heard one of their other demos while still at Warner Brothers but described what he heard then as completely different. The stick-out tune, “Sunday Morning,” would end up sealing the deal for Berkman.
After showcasing a show at the Viper Room, Berkman had his associates fly out. Upon seeing Levine on stage for the first time, they were sold. The only thing that was still missing was another guitar player to free up Levine so he could become a full-on frontman.
Enter James Valentine…
He came from the band L.A Square. Valentine described his entry into the band as feeling like a love affair. As if he was cheating on his other band. Either way, it culminated in him and Levine bonding over the band Phish, and Valentine subsequently joining them.
The band’s first album, Songs About Jane, was an almost instant success, with the single “This Love” garnering impressive success.
Fellow Berkley classmate of Valentine’s, John Meyer, approached the band (now named Maroon 5) after a show he had done and asked them to open for him on an upcoming tour.
The rest is history…
Since then, the band has gone from strength to strength. Releasing a total of seven studio albums and selling over 135 million copies worldwide. This makes them one of the best-selling bands of all time.
Trying to fit the best songs by the band into one list would require it to be longer than most of you could bear to read. So, here are some of the best songs by Maroon 5, in my opinion, but by no means all of them.
Top 45 Best Maroon 5 Songs of All Time
Never Gonna Leave This Bed
Album: Hands All Over
Any good band worth their salt has a trove of hidden gems that get forgotten thanks to the brightness of bigger hits in their catalog. For my money, “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” embodies the very essence of such an overlooked nugget. It is one of the best little known Maroon 5 songs.
This song features an intoxicating bass pattern that carries the song along in a type of on and off beat wabble. The keyboards add perfect decoration to the sonic space, and Levine’s vocals explore a very colorful range throughout the track.
Many Maroon 5 fans, or Marooners as they’re sometimes called, have confessed to not liking the band until hearing this number.
What Lovers Do (feat. SZA)
Album: Red Pill Blues
Adam Levine might not agree with me, but he seems to be a songwriter to whom any kind of track comes easily.
“What Lovers Do” is by no means his first use of pop sensibilities in his writing. But, it serves as a very good example of how expertly he can craft something that he knows will make a big impression. Often using the simplest of elements.
The song offers a spicy blend of pop and rock that was perfectly placed on a perfectly timed album and took the world by storm. It was also SZA’s first top ten hit.
“Animals” represent a good snapshot of the band at the time. They were trying to grow their sound, something they continually strive for from album to album. So, they sought out different people to collaborate with.
Benny Blanco and Shellback (who’d worked with the likes of Britney Spears and Katy Perry) brought to life a vision hatched in the collective minds of them and Levine. Shellback was also the producer of “Animals” on the 2015 album V.
This shows a Maroon 5 more than ready to break out and cross over into whatever stream they like. “Animals” was the band’s tenth top-ten hit, and the V tour ended up lasting almost three years. That’s because they were unable to keep up with the wave they were sending around the world.
By the time this song hit, the band had already built a bit of a reputation for their music videos. However, this one took things to a whole new level of narrative and edginess combined with one heck of a tune.
As always, we have that particular style of melodrama done so well by Maroon 5. Somehow, it never becomes cheesy. Excellent production on both the video and music made this song an international smasher. The obvious choice for the album’s first single.
The song quickly climbed to #1 on the charts and sold over 1.6 million copies by the end of that year. It debuted at #2 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video for “Maps” resulted in the band becoming the first western artist to top the music charts in Korea.
If I Never See Your Face Again (feat. Rihanna)
Album: It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
Once again, we have a song that relied heavily on its excellent music video to propel it along. But it wouldn’t have become one of the biggest Maroon 5 songs if there wasn’t magic in those words and beats. Levine’s songwriting and status as the world’s biggest male sex symbol were solidified here.
Teaming up with the world’s leading female singer at the time was a fantastic production decision. As a result, this track ended up on the Reloaded version of Rihana’s “Good Girl Gone Bad.”
After it made it onto the reissue of 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, the album was propelled to Grammy nominee status.
Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
“Payphone” was a very expensive video to make, but paid off in the best possible way. For me, this deserves its place among the best Maroon 5 songs of all time as it’s one of the first full-blast-on-all-cylinders at once songs.
It was the melodrama, the epic video, and the great songwriting that makes a song so big. Even people who hate it add to its success by having to acknowledge its existence due to it being played seventeen times a day, at least.
It was the band’s first chart-topper in the United Kingdom and a platinum seller in the US.
Moves Like Jagger (feat. Christina Aguilera)
Album: Hands All Over
Adam and fellow “The Voice” judge took a break from their hot red seats to come together on this tip of the hat to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Once more, we have a hit crafted with simple ingredients. A great rock dance groove mixed with two excellent vocalists and some catchy lyrics.
Throw in some good old-fashioned hard work, great production, and that music video, and you end up with something that was at one point more famous than the moon landing.
Also, it has the added benefit of educating you on three greatly different artists at once. That is if you have the misfortune of not knowing who Mick Jagger, Christina Aguilera, and Maroon 5 are.
Makes Me Wonder
Album: It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
“Makes Me Wonder” isn’t just a smash hit. It’s a smash hit that made some critics eat their words when it came to Maroon 5. Here was a band who wanted to make it big, and yes, their pop influences were clear from the start.
But, the funky soul sensibilities present in “Makes Me Wonder” was something new and refreshing. This was the track that launched 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.
And this blockbuster Maroon 5 song has one of the largest recorded billboard jumps in history, all the way from #64 to the top spot. The song won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance.
Album: Songs About Jane
Released as the second single for Songs About Jane, “This Love” is built around a very basic piano part and a repeating guitar riff. Inspired by Levine’s break up with an ex-girlfriend, the song was written during what he described as one of the most emotionally trying times of his life.
Featuring erotic lyrics and an amazing performance by Levine, the song became an instant hit. And it has remained the most popular Maroon 5 song after all these years.
What Lovers Do
If I Never See Your Face Again
Give a Little More
Moves Like Jagger
Coming Back for You
It Was Always You
Just a Feeling
My Heart Is Open
Help Me Out
Bet My Heart
If You Only Knew
Out of Goodbyes (feat. Lady Antebellum)
She Will Be Loved
Harder to Breathe
In Your Pocket
Not Coming Home
Wait (Chromeo Remix)
Girls Like You
Wake Up Call
Looking for Some Other All-Time Great Songs?
We can help. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Fleetwood Mac Songs, the Best Breaking Benjamin Songs of All Time, the Best Grunge Bands of the 90s, the Best Louis Armstrong Songs of All Time, and the Best Kanye West Songs of All Time for more amazing song selections.
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Best Maroon 45 Songs of All Time – Conclusion
Yes, it’s the big one, the one we all know and love, This Love. The piano intro can make a crowd go wild with just two bars. Something about the swingy drumbeat combined with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics just makes this song do something to the feel-good bones in your body.
If this song doesn’t convince you of Levine’s prowess as a lyricist and singer, nothing will.
Until next time, happy listening.