Maroon 5's Adam Levine's Playlist: Top 5 Songs That Impacted Rocker's Style

PHOTO: Maroon 5s frontman Adam Levine sat down with "Nightline" to discuss the top five songs that have influenced his love for music over the years.
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Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine has felt music beating in his veins since he was a little boy.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Levine has been playing with almost all of the same guys who make up Maroon 5 since high school, and the group has earned numerous awards, including three Grammys. Their smash hit singles -- "This Love, " "She Will Be Loved," "Harder to Breathe," "Makes Me Wonder" -- have garnered the band worldwide acclaim.

In an interview with "Nightline" at the RdV Lounge in New York City, the rock star talks about the top five songs on his playlist that have made an impact on his musical style.

1. "Electric Avenue," Eddy Grant

Adam Noah Levine was born in Los Angeles on March 18, 1979. His father, Fred Levine, owns a boutique chain in downtown L.A.

Maroon 5's Adam Levine said he first picked up a guitar at age 10. Credit: Courtesy Adam Levine

"[Electric Avenue] was the first tape I ever bought, and I made my parents listen to it all the time," Levine said. "I probably drove them a little crazy with that, so I am sorry to my parents for that. My family is a very musical family, they appreciate music, but I was obsessed with this tune. I loved that song so much, still to this day. It's irresistible. It's just one of those songs."

2. "Thriller," Michael Jackson

One of the fondest memories of his childhood, Levine said, is making the winning shot in a basketball game at age 6. The experience gave him the confidence to succeed in anything he wanted to pursue -- mainly music.

"I remember 'Thriller' was just everyone's soundtrack. It was the biggest record on earth and everybody wanted to be Michael Jackson," Levine said.

"Michael Jackson was probably his biggest at this time, it was the early to mid-80s," he continued. "I'd dance around the living room with my glove on like every other kid at that age during that time. It's almost as if pop music is kind of something I loved so much as a kid, and then when I was 13, 14, 15, I kind of left it behind because I didn't think it was particularly cool."

3. "Longview," Green Day

Levine first began making music with his friends, guitarist Jesse Carmichael and bassist Mickey Madden, while attending the Brentwood School, a K-12 school in L.A. In 1994, the trio added drummer Ryan Dusick and formed the alternative rock band Kara's Flowers.

"When I was in high school, I was a little rebellious," Levine said. "I wanted to play music. I didn't want to do the things they were teaching me. I picked up a guitar and that was it. The second I picked up a guitar, I never really put it down again. I fell so madly in love with it, it's all I did. It consumed my every thought, and I'd have friends over that didn't even play instruments and I would just put instruments in their hands."

Levine at age 14. Credit: Courtesy Adam Levine

"I remember hearing Green Day for the first time and being kind of blown away," Levine continued. "When I heard 'Longview' on the radio, I was just kind of enamored by it. I was like, 'Wow, what's this?' It was very accessible, melodic rock and roll music, but it was a little pissed-off and obnoxious."

4. "Doctor Feelgood," Mötley Crüe

When they were high school seniors, Kara's Flowers released their first album in 1997 under Reprise Records, but after little success, the label dumped them. That same year, the band performed on an episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210," but its members eventually parted ways.

Levine and Carmichael attended Five Towns College on Long Island, N.Y. for a semester, where they were exposed to hip-hop, R&B, gospel and soul -- sounds Levine said would later inspire his music in a different way than the bands that had influenced him before, such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Mötley Crüe.

"I actually learned how to play drums in my attic listening to 'Doctor Feelgood,' the Mötley Crüe record," Levine said. "Just listening to it and playing it. I had a karaoke machine that I'd put, it was a really bad idea, but I put it right by my ear in order to get it loud enough, I'd have to crank it all the way."

"I just had these drums, a really crappy drum set," he continued. "I would be listening to it and playing it, almost treating it like a monitor, and I'd have it rigged up so it was blasting in my face and I'd play that whole album and I learned how to play drums. So, thank you Tommy Lee, appreciate it."

5. "F--- You," Cee Lo Green

After the duo dropped out of college and moved back to L.A., they regrouped with the former members of Kara's Flowers, adding guitarist James Valentine and moving Carmichael to keyboards, to form Maroon 5.

Lyrics written about Levine's ex-girlfriend turned into tracks on Maroon 5's debut album, aptly titled "Songs About Jane," which took two years to be certified platinum. The band played their release party at Tower Records Sunset in L.A. on Jan. 25, 2002, before hitting the road for their first tour.

"The record business has gone through some serious changes over the years," Levine said. "You know you're in L.A. and you see Tower Records disappear and you see the concept of the hard copy you know, going away. There's no more albums, there's no more. Change is inevitable and you kind of have to embrace it. So the Internet and all those things have changed everything very drastically, and there's nothing wrong with that, you know. Lots of different ways to get people interested in music and I think it's cool."

Maroon 5 won their first Grammy as "Best New Artist of 2005," but the following year, Dusick left the band, citing injury to his arm, and was replaced by Matt Flynn. The group's second album, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long," was released in 2007 and included the smash hit "Makes Me Wonder," which earned Maroon 5 a Grammy for "Best Pop Performance by a Group."

Their third album, "Hands All Over," debuted at number two on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart after its 2010 release. The debut single off that album, "Misery," earned the group a 2011 Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Performance by a Group." In addition to working with the band, Levine signed on as a judge for the competitive singing TV series, "The Voice," with fellow hosts Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green.

"Cee Lo has made some records, as Gnarls Barkley and also on his own that I think are amazing-sounding and so refreshing and so cool, but also routed in old school, which is cool," Levine said.

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