My Maria

Album: My Maria (1973)
Charted: 9
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Songfacts®:

  • In February 1973, Stevenson released the song "Shambala," which was written by the composer Daniel Moore. Two weeks later, Three Dog Night released their version of the song, which became the much bigger hit, charting at US #3 while Stevenson's version stalled at #66. Stevenson and Moore then got together and re-wrote "Shambala" as "My Maria," changing the lyrics so the song became an ode to a beautiful woman. The ploy worked, and Stevenson had by far his biggest hit - his next closest chart entry was "The River Of Love" at #53, also written by Moore.

    "Shambala" was often credited as being written by Stevenson. Moore told us: "My co-writer on 'My Maria,' B.W. Stevenson and I got together in 1987 and I busted him for taking credit for writing 'Shambala.' He had this big grin on his face and said, 'I never said that I wrote it.' Then his grin got bigger and he said, 'But I also never said that I didn't write it.' Poor guy died the next year from a staph infection after a heart valve operation in Nashville. The operation went fine, but 3 days later he got the staph infection and it killed him. So much for the hospitals in Nashville.

    I probably would never have finished 'My Maria' without B.W.'s assistance. I had been working on the song for two years at the point I showed it to him. Of course he wrote the rest of the lyrics in about 15 minutes. Bless his heart."
  • B.W. Stevenson (B.W. = "Buck Wheat") was a singer/songwriter from Dallas, Texas who died in 1988 at age 38. "My Maria," featuring Larry Carlton on guitar, was by far his best-known song. It was a #1 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  • A 1996 cover version by Brooks & Dunn was a huge Country hit, going to #1 and being named by Billboard as the Country Song of the Year. Their version also made #79 on the Hot 100.

    The song's writer Daniel Moore says he earned far more for the cover than for any previous versions. Says Moore: "The original sold 950,000 singles, Brooks & Dunn's version has sold over 6 million. The original version got about 1,500,000 US radio performances. The Brooks & Dunn version is over 6,500,000 US radio performances and still going."
  • Speaking on I Miss … '90s Country Radio With Nick Hoffman on Apple Music Country, Ronnie Dunn admitted he was reluctant to cut the song when the idea was first presented to him. "I thought, 'Oh man, it's just that falsetto thing,'" he remembered. "It's a rock song, in my opinion. And I was very much wrong."

    Once Dunn laid down his vocals, Brooks felt he could do it better and urged him to give it another go. "I've heard him sing probably more than anybody at this point and I knew, man, if I could just convince him, can we please cut it one more time?" Brooks said. "And it was weeks after that that it took, because he didn't want to cut it in the first place, and to his credit, he went back and did it again. Man, I was so excited to hear that record the second time."

Comments: 3

  • Jim from VirginiaJim Gordon played drums on "My Maria". Incredible musician....
  • Greg Ewen from NashvilleWho played drums on my Maria?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 25th 1973, B.W. Stevenson performed "My Maria" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One month earlier on July 22nd, 1973 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #81; and on September 23rd, 1973 it peaked at #9 {for 1 week} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    On the same 'Bandstand' show he also performed "Shambala"; on June 3rd, 1973 it peaked at #66 on the Top 100, that same week Three Dog Night’s covered version was at #14, six weeks later it would peaked at #3 {for 1 week}...
    B.W. had two more Top 100 records after "My Maria"; "The River of Love" {peaked at #53 in 1974} and "Down to the Station" {reached #82 in 1977}...
    R.I.P Mr. Stevenson, born Louis Charles Stevenson, {1949 - 1988}.
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