Our Top 10 Songs From The Mavericks list presents the best Mavericks songs like “Dance the Night Away” “Born to Be Blue,” and more. Although Miami, Florida seems to be an unlikely city for a country band to have its roots, this is exactly where The Mavericks got started. In 1989, Raul Malo met Robert Reynolds while both were performing in local bands. Malo, a Floridan native, quickly became friends with Reynolds, who was originally from Kansas City, Missouri. The friendship developed after the two realized they shared the same musical interests and decided to form their own band.
A friend of Reynolds, Paul Deakin, joined as the drummer, as well as lead guitarist Ben Peeler. Throughout Miami, the group toured at venues that normally booked rock and roll bands as The Mavericks wanted to perform original songs. Performing in country-themed venues was not an option at the time as there was a preference for cover songs instead. In addition to performing locally, The Mavericks released their first album in 1990 through a local independent label, Y&T Music. Every song featured on the album was written by lead vocalist, Malo.
Rising to the Occasion
Although classified as a country band, The Mavericks are also known for using Americana, Latino, Tejano, and pop music styles. Thanks to the success of the band’s independent album, MCA Nashville Records signed The Mavericks up. It would be at this time Peeler was by David Lee Holt as lead guitarist. However, after only one album, Holt left and was replaced by Bill Dwyer while the band was touring in Europe. After the tour was complete, Nick Kane became the new lead guitarist, as selected by Robert Reynolds.
The most successful album to The Mavericks’ credit was What a Crying Shame, which was released in 1994. From it, four out of five charted singles became top forty hits on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. It became a certified platinum seller with the Recording Industry Association of America, as well as double platinum in Canada. The success of this album earned The Mavericks an Academy of Country Music Award win for Top Vocal Group in 1994, as well as Top New Vocal Duet or Group. They also won Top Vocal Group again in 1995. After 1994’s What a Crying Shame was released as the group’s third studio album, David Lee Holt left the band and was replaced by Nick Kane. Another album, Music for All Occasions, was produced while still with MCA Nashville. This album produced the group’s most successful single to date, “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down.” Music for All Occasions became an RIAA platinum-certified seller.
The final album The Mavericks released with the MCA Nashville label was Trampoline. Released in 1997, it failed to impress the American audience nearly as much as it did in the UK when it was released there in 1998. Unlike the previous two albums released by the group, it didn’t sound quite as country-themed. The music direction leaned more in favor of a Latino pop, samba, and soul combination. It was an experimental sound that also gave The Mavericks cause to move on after realizing their time in Nashville had come to an end.
After leaving MCA Nashville in 1999, The Mavericks signed up with Mercury Records and produced one more album before officially disbanding in 2000. It was a compilation album that featured the biggest hits The Mavericks released up to that point. The decision to release Super Colossal Smash Hits of the 90’s: The Best of The Mavericks came after the group realized how successful they became in Europe. In addition to previously recorded material, there were also new songs, including covers of “Think of Me” by Buck Owens and “Here Comes My Baby” by Cat Stevens. In the UK, this compilation album was successful enough to earn gold certification from the British Phonographic Industry. While the star for The Mavericks was shining brightly in the UK, it was dimming in the US. This resulted in the band’s decision to go their separate ways.
In 2003, The Mavericks reunited with Eddie Perez as the new lead guitarist. Through the Sanctuary Records label belonging to the UK, the group released two albums. The first was a self-titled studio recording and the second was a live album that was recorded while performing in Austin, Texas. The music featured in The Mavericks was inspired by the series of terrorist-related events that took place on September 11, 2001. The second run as The Mavericks ended in 2004 after failing to achieve enough commercial success to continue as a group. It wouldn’t be until 2011 that Malo, Deakin, Reynolds, and Perez would reunite a second time. Soon afterward, Jerry Dale McFadden joined the lineup.
In 2012, The Mavericks released an EP, Suited Up and Ready. Later, the album, In Time, was released in 2013. In 2014, while on tour, Robert Reynolds was fired from the band after it was discovered his addiction to opiates also had him soliciting money from the fans under false pretenses. He was never officially replaced but his role has been filled in by session and touring musicians.
The Mavericks Discography
In total, The Mavericks have recorded and released eleven studio albums and an EP. The group also has six compilation albums and three live albums. Of the twenty-seven singles released so far, eighteen of them have made chart appearances. The most recent award they have won as a group was the Trailblazer Award with the Americana Music Honors & Awards in 2021.
Top 10 The Mavericks Songs
#10 – The Air That I Breathe
First recorded by Albert Hammond in 1972 for his album, It Never Rains in Southern California, “The Air That I Breathe” became a big hit for the Hollies in 1974. For The Mavericks, their coverage of this single was released as a single in 2004, peaking as high as number fifty-six on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. As popular as this song was as a cult classic from The Hollies, “The Air That I Breathe” perhaps took on a whole new meaning with The Mavericks as an inspired Raul Malo was still reeling from the terrorist attacks that took place on American soil on September 11, 2001.
#9 – What a Crying Shame
From the album with the same name, “What a Crying Shame” was the first of its five singles that were released. In 1993, it became a number six hit on the Canadian Country Tracks chart and a number twenty-five hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The heartfelt performance by Malo’s lyrics was a sorrowful number that was highlighted with a fusion of garage and pop instrumentation that made this song an entertaining favorite. It was the first hit for The Mavericks as recording artists.
# 8 – I Don’t Care (If You Love Me Anymore)
The original composition of “I Don’t Care (If You Love Me Anymore)” came from The Mavericks for the 1996 movie soundtrack, Michael. This song was good enough to earn a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1997 but its win went to Brooks & Dunn for “My Maria” instead. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “I Don’t Care” became a number sixty-five hit. In Canada, it was a number eight-nine hit on the Canadian Country Tracks chart.
#7 – Born to Be Blue
In 2012, The Mavericks released the single, “Born to Be Blue.” This electrified take of a country-rock number about love and loss became a number forty-six hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. As if a song performed by someone who already experienced the rise and fall of a failed relationship, Raul Malo’s Roy Orbison-like performance made this song an easy fan favorite from the album, In Time. As a music video with over five million hits, it turns out YouTube viewers seem to agree.
#6 – There Goes My Heart
From the album, What a Crying Shame, “There Goes My Heart” became its third hit single to appear on both the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the Canadian Country Tracks chart. In the US, it peaked as high as number twenty, while in Canada, at number fourteen. The honky-tonk style of “There Goes My Heart” is what made it a favorite dance number at country bars and venues when it was first released in 1994. So the love interest has walked away but the invite to toe tap on the dance floor was too inviting to ignore.
#5 – O What a Thrill
Jesse Winchester’s “O What a Thrill” was a song The Mavericks covered as one of the singles released from their album, What a Crying Shame. It was the second of five hits coming from the recording and peaked as high as number eighteen on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. In Canada, “O What a Thrill” peaked as high as number seven on its Canadian Country Tracks chart.
When Raul Malo and Robert Reynolds first met, what started their friendship was the mutual appreciation of Roy Orbison and his music. This was evident in “O What a Thrill as a romantic song that fancied beautiful women, performed as if Roy Orbison himself wrote this song. He didn’t, however, as that was by Jesse Winchester.
#4 – Here Comes the Rain
In 1995, The Mavericks released their second MCA Nashville album, Music for All Occasions. From it, the bluesy “Here Comes the Rain” became a number twenty-two hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. In Canada, it peaked as high as number four on its Canadian Country Tracks chart.
In 1996, “Here Comes the Rain” won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Although it only charted at number ninety-nine on the UK Singles Chart, “Here Comes the Rain” became the first of a string of hits that earned The Mavericks a loyal fan following in that nation.
What made The Mavericks so appealing was Raul Malo’s talent as a vocalist that could almost fool nondiscerning fans that Roy Orbison was also a country artist. Combine that with the fusion of musical styles from The Mavericks roster and it’s easy to understand why they were so well-favored, especially when they were in their prime.
#3 – Here Comes My Baby
Originally written by Cat Stevens, then recorded in 1967 by The Tremeloes, “Here Comes My Baby’ became a song The Mavericks covered that served as the group’s final hit before the turn of the twenty-first century. In 1999, it peaked as high as number forty on the Canadian Country Tracks chart. The US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart peaked “Here Comes My Baby’ at number forty-two.
In the UK and the Netherlands, it became a number eighty-two and number seventy-seven hit, respectively. Granted, it was a minor hit but the Americana-style performance by The Mavericks gave this Cat Stevens classic a whole new sound that worked well as a modernized number that still respected its original roots.
#2 – All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down (featuring Flaco Jimenez)
On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” became a number thirteen hit after it was released as a single in 1996. Featured on the accordion was Tejano musician, Flaco Jimenez. In Canada, this single became a number fifteen hit on its Canadian Country Tracks chart.
As a somewhat carefree song of a romantic relationship gone wrong due to betrayal, the drama of this twangy tune was highlighted even further by Jimenez’s accordion performance. When “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” was first released, it wasted no time becoming a fan favorite among country venues featuring a dance floor.
#1 – Dance the Night Away
In 1998, “Dance the Night Away” became a number four hit on the UK Singles Chart, as well as a number nine hit in Ireland. It was also a number twenty-five hit in the Netherlands. Designed more as a Latin-style pop-rock number by The Mavericks, it became a major fan favorite among the Brits, Dutch, and Irish. In Canada, “Dance the Night Away” charted as high as number seventy-two on its Canadian Country tracks chart.
On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it was a number sixty-three hit. While “Dance the Night Away” was a minor among the country fan base belonging to Canada and the US, the mesh of musical styles featuring the horn instruments was immensely popular overseas. According to Raul Malo, the song came by accident while he was still building up the music.
There were previous demo recordings of different parts to the songs he didn’t realize were already present. In the end, the musical arrangement designed “Dance the Night Away” as an instrumentally heavy pop sound. What may have been regarded as alien country music by Americans and Canadians was seen as a beautiful fusion of different musical sounds coming together by nations who tend to favor pop rock music styles.
The popularity of “Dance the Night Away” earned it a BPI platinum certification after selling over 600,000 copies. The appeal behind “Dance the Night Away” was starting over as a free man who was walking away from a failed relationship. It’s hard not to get caught up in a song that sounds so festive.
Feature Photo: Alejandro Menéndez Vega for The Mavericks, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Songs From The Mavericks article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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