Amy Winehouse - one of the greatest of all female singer/songwriters
Written and compiled by Paul Rance
Amy Winehouse was one of the greatest female talents in British music history. But, her death at such a young age hardly caught many people by surprise. It seemed inevitable.
Born on September 14th, 1983 in Southgate, London, Amy Winehouse's talent began to blossom at the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School. She was rebellious even then.
As well as having an outstanding singing voice combined with impeccable phrasing, Amy Winehouse wrote and co-wrote most of her own material. It was material that often had a visceral quality, and a song such as 'Rehab' underlined her untamed persona.
A Genius Emerges
It was Amy Winehouse's debut album 'Frank', which brought her to prominence in 2003. It was an album that was nominated for both the Mercury Prize and a Brit Award. Though the excellence of Amy Winehouse's music went up a notch with the six Grammy Award nominations for the 2006 album 'Back to Black', this coincided with the start of Amy's self-destructive slide.
Musically, 'Back to Black' was a work of genius, and Mark Ronson, another highly talented British music figure, co-wrote the title track with her, and also co-produced the album with Salaam Remi. The title track had a 1960s production feel to it, and its moving, dramatic quality is arguably Ms. Winehouse's greatest song. Other notable tracks on 'Back to Black' included 'Love Is a Losing Game', 'Rehab', and 'You Know I'm No Good'.
The difference in appearance from the voluptuous young woman of her first album, to the painfully thin, beehived Amy Winehouse of the 'Back to Black' period made the alarm bells ring for anyone who cared about her. After Amy's tempestuous relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil ended, fans still hoped she'd get back on track.
An Inglorious End
Performances by Amy Winehouse had become notoriously shambolic, and at her last concert in Belgrade a month before her death, she was even booed by her own fans. Amy Winehouse was working on material for a third album, and whether any material will be released posthumously remains to be seen.
Amy Winehouse was found dead in her Camden flat in London on July 23rd, 2011. She became yet another music star to join 'the 27 Club' - those music stars who died aged just 27, and who include Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse certainly holds her own even in that esteemed company.
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.