It is often the one question that gets asked more than any inside EDM circles. “Where were you when you first heard Avicii’s ‘Levels?'” With its release on October 28th, 2011, it’s astonishing to think that a track that started as just a simple Etta James sample would go on to completely change the world and define an entire era of music.
There are very few songs that can compete with the impact that “Levels” has created over the years. You would be hard-pressed to find any dance music fan that doesn’t have some emotional connection to the song. Many believe it is the track that best represents what people refer to as the “Golden Era” of dance music. Even a decade later, it still blasts through the speakers of numerous festivals during DJ’s sets. It has continually been ranked the #1 dance anthem on many different lists and solidified Avicii as an all-time legend.
In the 2017 documentary Avicii: True Stories, Avicii can be seen experimenting with the well-known Etta James song, “Something’s Got A Hold On Me.” The film quickly transitions to him in his studio, playing the first versions of what would go on to be one of the most iconic progressive melodies in the history of music.
“When I came home, I realized that this was an idea that had something special. So I started working on it. When we had “Levels,” I think we both realized we had something special.” – Avicii, Avicii: True Stories
The track changed life for Avicii instantly by making him one of the most in-demand DJs in the industry. Across the world, videos of massive crowds reacting to the song at shows went viral. It was moments that the EDM community had rarely seen before it and ignited a new wave of dance music culture.
“It had the right energy, the right uplifting melody that we were looking for and all of a sudden, it just made sense for that [Etta James vocal] to be there.” – Ash Pournouri, Avicii: True Stories
“Levels” would peak in the top ten in 23 countries with nine #1 spots, a truly incredible accomplishment. It has earned platinum certifications in 13 countries, with nine being multi-platinum achievements.
Relive Avicii’s dance anthem “Levels” below.
Image Credit: Drew Ressler/ rukes.com
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