My Maria by B.W. Stevenson (RCA, 1973)

Imagine ol’ B.W.’s luck. He records a song that he swears is a sure-fire hit, releases it and it makes the Hot 100. Then some hot shot L.A. band comes along with a slicker version and sashays up to #3 while stomping the life out of B.W.’s 45. The band was Three Dog Night and the song was Shambala. B.W. was so pissed he called up the write of Shambala and said, ‘Write me another Shambala and make it quick. Shee-it, I’ll even help you out to speed the process along.

The songwriter, Daniel Moore and B.W. sat down and wrote My Maria that while not exactly an entire rip-off, was similar enough to fool the public that A.) Three Dog Night had a new hit or B.) that they had misheard the chorus and they were singing Ma-ree-eeee–eeee–eee-ee-ya and not ah-wa-ooh-yee-ooh-yee-yee-ya. Either way, B.W. took his shambala’d Maria into the Top 10 only 3 months after Three Dog Night was there.

Ol B.W. never made it back to the Top 40, most likely because Three Dog Night didn’t have many more songs to ripoff. But his legend lives on in two ways. First after he died in 1988, a bar in Dallas, Texas names Poor David’s Pub has held a songwriting competition in his honor that exists to this day. And the #1 Country song of the year in 1996 was Brooks & Dunn’s version of that burst of spite.

By the way, there’s a lot of debate over what the B.W. stands for. Some say it’s Big Winner or Blooming Wonder or even Barry White. Actually no one says of that. It stood for Buck Wheat, ok? O-tay!