On this date two years ago, Avicii sadly passed away. Harnessing a persona so vibrant and a career so bright that it transcended the very industry that spawned it, he had an ineffable impact on the music industry—one that was felt in droves on April 20th, 2018.
His death plunged the collective psyche of the dance music world into a tailspin in one fell swoop. The devastating news filled us and emptied us all at once, like the water of a river after a storm. EDM lost its lifeblood that day, but Avicii's memory courses through the veins of his music, continuing to awe and inspire beyond the grave.
On the second anniversary of Avicii's tragic death, we are honoring his legacy by turning back the clock to five of his most unforgettable moments, which are crystallized not only in the annals of dance music history, but also in the hearts of his fans.
Final Show at Ushuaïa Ibiza
Avicii played his final show at famed nightlife destination Ushuaïa Ibiza on August 28th, 2016. Before retiring from touring at the ripe age of 26, his swan song at Ushuaïa was one for the books. According to live setlist aggregator 1001Tracklists, his set consisted of a litany of his own heartfelt, aching hits, like the Aloe Blacc-assisted "Wake Me Up," his Nicky Romero collaboration "I Could Be the One," and his iconic remix of Coldplay's "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall." You can listen to the set in full here.
The Release of "Levels"
Perhaps the most recognizable song in the history of EDM, "Levels" has stood the test of time as a generational anthem. Its instantly recognizable melody and captivating Etta James sample, which gives its listeners the irresistible urge to sing at the top of their lungs, are just two of the ingenious elements of the song that propelled Avicii to international superstardom. The track was a tour de force, serving as a catalyst for the career of the most prolific DJ and producer dance music has ever seen.
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$1 Million Donation to Feeding America
In 2012, Avicii embarked on an expansive 27-date tour called “House for Hunger” around North America. When the tour concluded, he donated all of his income from it to Feeding America, a major nonprofit organization that feeds more than 46 million people through over 200 food banks. He also went on to additionally donate a staggering $1 million to the charity. “Hunger hits everywhere and the US is not immune to it, for me personally, when I found out how widespread the hunger problem in the United States actually was, it blew my mind," he said. "I never would have imagined that one in six people in America struggle with hunger or that one in four children routinely do not get enough to eat.”
His Directorial Debut
In order to fight the trafficking of children, Avicii made his directorial debut in September 2015, producing the music videos for his singles "For a Better Day" and "Pure Grinding." The video for the former, which appeared on his Stories LP, was quite graphic, depicting two children being forced into a trafficker's car after frantically racing through fields to escape. "The promise of a better life often traps families and children into being used as tools for some of the most despicable people on earth," he said. "It’s an issue about which I hope to start a louder discussion, especially now with the huge number of families on the move from war-torn countries looking for safety and shelter.”
Madonna Appearance at Ultra 2012
Ultra Music Festival is known to attract the biggest names in electronic music, but Avicii took it to the next level in 2012 when he brought out the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. Before they debuted his remix of her single "Girl Gone Wild," she rhapsodized about EDM. “I’ve been here in spirit for many years, but it’s good to finally be standing on the stage, looking at all you people who have come here from all around the world,” she declared prior to introducing Avicii. “In my world, the words ‘music’ and ‘dance’ are not separated. Electronic music has been a part of my life since the beginning of my career. I can honestly say that a DJ saved my life.”