Wild child Avril Lavigne hit big in summer 2002 with her spiky-fun debut song, "Complicated," shifting pop music into a different direction. Lavigne, who was 17 at the time, didn't seem concerned with the glamour of the TRL-dominated pop world and such confidence allowed her star power to soar. The middle of three children in small-town Napanee, Ontario, Lavigne's rock ambitions were noticeable around age two. By her early teens, she was already writing songs and playing guitar. The church choir, local festivals, and county fairs also allowed Lavigne to get her voice heard, and luckily, Arista Records main man Antonio "L.A." Reid was listening. He offered her a deal, and at 16, Lavigne's musical dreams became reality. With Reid's assistance and a new Manhattan apartment, Lavigne found herself surrounded by prime songwriters and producers, but it wasn't impressive enough for her to continue. She had always relied on her own ideas to create a musical spark, and things weren't going as planned. Lavigne wasn't disillusioned, though. She headed for Los Angeles and Nettwerk grabbed her. Producer/songwriter Clif Magness (Celine Dion, Wilson Phillips, Sheena Easton) tweaked Lavigne's melodic, edgy sound and her debut, Let Go, was the polished product. Singles such as "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" hit the Top Ten while "I'm with You" and "Losing Grip" did moderately well at radio. Butch Walker of the Marvelous 3, Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, and Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte) signed on to produce Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin, which appeared in May 2004. The album topped the Billboard charts and produced the number one hit "My Happy Ending." Other singles like "Nobody's Home" and "Fall to Pieces" did respectably well also. Settling down a bit from her punk rock wild child persona, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, in July 2006.
Although she spent some time dabbling with a film career - lending a voice to the 2006 animated film Over The Headge and appearing in Richard Linklater's fictional adaptation of Fast Food Nation that same year - Lavigne spent most of '06 working on her third album, The Best Damn Thing which was released in April of 2007. It marked a return to the bratty, spunky punk-pop of Let Go, best heard on the album's first single, the chart-topping Â“GirlfriendÂ” (which later became the subject of controversy as the '70s power-pop band The Rubinoos sued Lavigne claiming that her tune reworked their '79 song, Â“I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.Â”). The Best Damn Thing debuted at number one on the Billboard charts upon the week of its release. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, All Music Guide