Sad To See You Leaving 2011: Amy Winehouse

by Jackie_South on December 31, 2011

We wrote at the time of Amy Winehouse’s death in July about what a grievous loss her death was to music, and despaired at politicians trying to make capital out of her death to push their own narrow social-conservative agenda when her body was hardly cold.

With all the headlines over the years, her talent was dismissed by some who only saw the alcohol-and-drug addled woman who sprawled around incoherently with her beehive out of place.  But those people missed one of the twenty-first century’s genuine musical geniuses.

What marked out her talent was to take classic music from the past and give it her own, deeply personal twist, first with jazz on Frank and then with Mo-Town on Back to Black.  Her creativity was matched by a peerless voice: on both albums this North London jewish girl sings with one of the most soulful voices ever.

Whilst the sound and singing sounded as if they came from a different era, the lyrics did not.  Winehouse was not someone who did introvertedness, she wore her heart on her sleeve when she sang, and did it warts and all.  She sang about her demons in Rehab and her heartbreak in Love is a Losing Game (the latter in a way that was difficult to believe it wasn’t a cover of somthing from circa 1963) but didn’t shy away from more modern profanity: “What kind of fuckery is this?” she asked in Me and Mr Jones and told us that skunk had “… got me addicted, more than any dick did” in Addicted.

It is easy to blame others: her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil for her demise – he introduced her to heroin and crack.  But the truth is she was alwas a candle burning brightly but fast, and the foces that were the source of her genius were equally the source of her destruction.

All our other end of 2011 tributes have been for people who led relatively long, fruitful lives: even Pete Postlethwaite and Gil Scott Heron reached their sixties.  Winehouse died tragically young.  I’m dedicating this clip to her: the tune is a brazen lift from Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, but the song is all her own.

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