June 6.2014 – The Story Behind “My Maria” by Brooks and Dunn

Hear the story here!

In February, 1973, B.W. 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.

Daniel said, “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. In addition, their version was the number one country song of the year 1996 according to Billboard, and won the duo its second Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Vocal Group or Duo.

Brooks and Dunn’s version reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts

the weeks of May 18, May 25th and June 1st 1996.

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.”

LYRICS: Written by Daniel Moore and B.W.Stevenson

My Maria don’t you know I’ve come a long, long way
I been longin’ to see her
When she’s around she takes my blues away
Sweet Maria the sunlight surely hurts my eyes
I’m a lonely dreamer on a highway in the skies

Maria, Maria I love you

My Maria there were some blue and sorrow times
Just my thoughts about you bring back my piece of mind
Gypsy lady you’re a miracle work for me
You set my soul free like a ship sailing on the sea
She is the sunlight when skies are grey
She treats me so right lady take me away

My Maria
Maria I love you
My Maria
Maria I love you

My Maria
Maria I love you

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!

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