5 reasons why Avril Lavigne’s influence on pop culture is still going strong today

As she prepares to head out on her Greatest Hits Tour, the time has come to look back on the many achievements of the Belleville, Ont., artist born Avril Ramona Lavigne.

 

While there are those who might think that the voice behind such radio staples as Complicated, Sk8er Boi and Girlfriend is no longer a force in the music business, think again. While it was 20 years ago this June that she secured the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart with the release of her second album Under My Skin, 2022’s Love Sux was her seventh release to enter the top 10 on the Billboard Canadian and U.S. Billboard 200 charts. The album reached the No. 2 spot on both the Billboard Top Rock and Top Alternative album charts the week of its release.

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Even if you never heard Bite Me or Love it When You Hate Me, a lot of folks did. Expect these two songs and many other chart-toppers to be included on the Avril Lavigne — Greatest Hits album set for a June 21 release.

 

 
 
 

If anything, the collaboration-heavy record with contributions from artists such as Machine Gun Kelly, Blackbear, Mod Sun and others represented a repositioning of Lavigne as a major contributor to the punk-pop revival that is now in full swing. With 2000s-era acts such as Sum 41, Blink 182, Simple Plan and others back on the road, it’s a perfect time for Lavigne’s career retrospective concerts.

 

Simple Plan and All Time Low are opening for her on the coming tour.

 

In recognition of Lavigne’s contributions to Canadian and global pop music, we take a look back at the archives to highlight five key points in the career of an artist whose 16-million-plus selling 2002 debut, Let Go, secured her a spot on the best-selling albums of the 21st century list, based on Nielsen Soundscan sale tracking and the International Federation of Phonographic Industry tallies.

 


 

1. That signature hand signal

 

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Avril Lavigne at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards’ nomination announcements news conference in New York in 2002. PHOTO BY EVAN AGOSTINI /Evan Agostini/ImageDirect.

 

As far back as there are images of the singer, there are photographs of her doing the “devil’s horns” hand signal first attributed to such heavy metal icons as Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio. Of course, Avril has always added that particular facial growl to this motion that has been captured in photos across the decades. Don’t believe it? Check out these two photos from the 45th and 66th Grammy Award announcements and tell me if that isn’t owning a look.

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Avril Lavigne attends the 66th Grammy Awards in February 2024 in Beverly Hills. PHOTO BY AMY SUSSMAN /Getty Images

 


 

2. The cultural icon

 

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Avril Lavigne on the April 2005 Cosmopolitan magazine cover. SunMediaArchive

 

At the ripe old age of 39, Lavigne is entering her third decade in the music biz. Even in today’s pop music scene where Disney, J and K-Pop acts are churned out in their teens, that kind of endurance remains rare. That Lavigne handled her media celebrity without falling prey to the many potential traps that so many young stars get caught in is testament to her obvious confidence and comfort with her achievements. We don’t need to talk about some of those creepy magazine covers from when she was still in her teens.

 


 

3. The celebrity romance

 

Avril and Chad
Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger on the red carpet at the 2016 Juno Awards at the Saddledome in Calgary. PHOTO BY GAVIN YOUNG /GAVIN YOUNG/POSTMEDIA

 

Remember Cha-vril?

 

From 2012 until 2015, the Canadian music power couple was Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger and Lavigne. The two met during a co-writing session and were engaged in August 2012, marrying shortly after in 2013. The couple split in 2015, but are reported to still be friends. Since then, Lavigne was briefly engaged to musician Mod Sun in 2022 and was also linked to EDM artist Tyga. Before her marriage to Kroeger, she had been married to Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, making them the premier Canadian pop-punk power couple of that moment.

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4. The Fashionista

 

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A model (detail of a bag) walks the runway at the Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne Spring 2012 fashion show in New York. PHOTO BY SLAVEN VLASIC /Getty Images

 

With her loose, striped businessman’s tie, sleeveless Tee, Rob Halford-approved spiked wristbands, cropped cargos, biker wallet chain, Chuck Taylor’s and streaked hair, Lavigne owned the suburban tomboy mall punk style from Let Go. The de rigeur uniform at such events as the Warped Tour can still be seen skating past on sidewalks all over the world. As her career developed, so did Lavigne’s look, moving into more emo-goth accessories. The Abbey Dawn fashion line launched in 2008. Produced by Kohl’s and designed by Lavigne, the brand name is a childhood nickname for the star. Today it functions as a vehicle for her brand merchandise rather than a fashion line.

 

 
 
 

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5. The award winner

 

Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne with Juno Awards at the Junos in Ottawa on April 6, 2003. Photo: Alex Urosevic/iPhoto.ca

 

The list of awards that crowd Lavigne’s mantlepiece includes 10 Junos and 15 Japan Gold Disc awards from 2003 to 2023. Other achievements include the Guinness World Record for Youngest Female with a No. 1 Album in the U.K. in 2004. Yet the biggest single honour bestowed on the singer might be being one of the 59 Canadians who have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She joins such Canuck luminaries as Celine Dion and Mary Pickford on the Los Angeles sidewalk.

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