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."