Amy Winehouse, gifted Grammy-winning vocalist, frequent tabloid subject, passes away

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Image Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for NARAS

Amy Winehouse was one of the most successful and critically lauded British vocalists of all time. The singer, who has been found dead at her home at the age of 27, released just two CDs during her tragically short career, but sold millions of albums around the world and was a multiple Grammy winner. Although her troubled personal life often threatened to overshadow her musical output, Winehouse would also prove to be a huge influence on a generation of British female artists like Adele.

Amy Winehouse was born in London on September 14, 1983, and attended the BRIT performing arts school, whose other other students have included Adele and Leona Lewis. Winehouse was raised listening to veteran, jazz-inclined singers such as Dean Martin and Julie London and the singer’s love for that era of music could clearly be heard on her debut CD Frank, which was released in the UK in October 2003 to frequently ecstatic reviews. In an early profile of the singer in the London Times, writer Dan Cairns described the album as a “staggeringly assured, sit-up-and-listen debut, both commercial and eclectic, accessible and uncompromising, the kind of record that people will still be playing far into the future.” Frank was shortlisted for prestigious UK Mercury Music Prize and also earned Winehouse, who co-penned the majority of the album, an Ivor Novello songwriting award. “I’m most pleased when they mention Minnie Riperton,” Winehouse told the UK Guardian about the CD’s critical reaction.

It was Winehouse’s second collection, Back to Black, that established her as a major, global star in large part thanks to the Mark Ronson-produced “Rehab,” which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The collection also netted Winehouse five Grammys, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Back to Black would ultimately be certified platinum six times in the U.K, and twice in the U.S.

In 2007, Winehouse admitted to Entertainment Weekly that Back to Black was an extremely personal and heartfelt collection. “When I went into this album, I just felt really sad,” she said. “I felt really bad. I was clinically depressed, and I put it into music.

Alas, Winehouse would continue to battle her demons. As early as February 2007, the singer informed the UK Birmingham Post that she was keen to get started on her next album as soon as possible and that there might even be enough songs left over from Back to Black for another release. “You won’t have to wait another three years for that, not at all,” she added. However, fans were made to wait for another CD and, over the past few years, it was Winehouse’s increasingly erratic behavior rather than her musical prowess that caused headlines.

In May 2008, she was arrested in London on suspicion of drugs possession. The same month producer Mark Ronson announced that he and Winehouse had abandoned recording the theme for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace because the singer was “not ready to record any music.” In May of this year, the singer checked in to London’s Priory clinic but then canceled eleven European dates after being booed during a shambolic concert in Belgrade. Just a couple of weeks ago, veteran crooner Tony Bennett, who had recorded a track with Winehouse for his forthcoming album of duets told the Guardian that he was “worried about her and I’m praying for her.”


Read more:
Amy Winehouse found dead
Amy Winehouse mourned on Twitter

Comments (50 total) Add your comment
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  • joe

    “They tried to make me go to rehab,
    But I said no, no, no”

    Well that explains a lot :/

    • Esox

      If someone else writes this thinking they were the first to think of it, I’m gonna puke.

      Do you do the wave at baseball games too, Joe?

      • hannibal lecter

        while young joe may be naive, you, dear esox, are a vapid little barker. i eat your liver.

      • Esox

        Woof!

    • Matthew

      He doesn’t do the wave, he just jumps from the balcony for a baseball that you could buy at Target.

      • Gravity

        Very poor taste

    • Ken

      The entire first paragraph of this obituary is false garbage.

      • jj

        haters gonna hate

    • Santana

      “Losing my mind, from this hollow in my heart. Suddenly I’m so incomplete. Lord I’m needing you now, tell me how to stop the rain. Tears are falling down endlessly, ooooh.”

    • Cat

      “crickets”

  • Josh

    Classic albums from a tortured artist. Some of the best music of our generation. She might have done this to herself, but that does not lessen our loss.

    Some of the responses make me think of another celebrity who died recently, another victim of his own vices. I felt no sadness there, I think because the body of work he left to the world was easily overshadowed by his death. There was no substance to it at all. Amy Winehouse was all substance. She never made a single song you could discount as a cash grab. She opened her soul to us and we saw and felt the darkness, the longing, the hurt, but also the love. A true artist. Very sad.

    • @Josh

      Very well said.

      • Three

        Indeed

    • hmmm

      I really want to know what celebrity you’re referring to. The only recent “victm of his own vices” I can think of is Michael Jackson, but I don’t think his body of work was overshadowed by his death AT ALL.

      • Squishmar

        I thought he was referring to Ryan Dunn…because he said “celebrity” (not musician) and said “died recently”.

    • elle

      Josh Help !

      please explain how her music was so inspiring and great. This is not a put down just someone trying “to get” her music and why people call it genius. I hear it and I think it sound out of tune and the lyrics are repeated over and over help!

    • montag

      not sure it’s “more sad” a person with more talent dying over another one… but i’m with your description of what amy w offered as an artist.

    • MEG

      Wow…if you really think that Michael Jackson’s extraordinary musical legacy was “easily overshadowed” by his death, you clearly have no clue as to what you talk about. Let me guess…you dislike anything “pop” because your elitist musical tastes are too refined, correct? Michael Jackson was an amazing artist, and let’s see if 25 years from now, “Rehab” will be as thoroughly a part of culture as “Beat It,” “Billy Jean,” or “Rock With You”.

      • Cat

        Well said.

      • Josh

        I’m talking about Ryan Dunn. I didn’t want to mention his name in poor taste, but it was Ryan Dunn, not Michael Jackson.

      • Squishmar

        Oh, I was right. That’s who I thought you meant.

  • Allie

    Sad news. She had a lot of troubles but I really liked her music. RIP

  • Allie

    Sad day. She was very troubled but her music was so good. RIP.

  • Gabriel

    Another member of the Dead at 27 club.

  • Michael

    Sad, just very sad. I think when her fans turned their back on her, she just wanted to take her own life. R.I.P. Amy Winehouse. You could’ve been more, if you got your life together.

  • b.f.

    Music Legacy? Hardly.

    • @b.f.

      Adele, Duffy…even Gaga looked up to Amy for music

      When you’re the first and others look up to you, you’ve made a legacy.

      You may have not liked her music but there’s no need to be an ass about it.

  • Caroline

    I hope her trouble soul has found rest. I’ll pray for her family and friends.

  • steve

    Everyone knew this was coming. No big surprise. No big loss either!!!

    • hannibal lecter

      i should like to sautee your brains and serve them to you, dear little steve.

      • stve

        I’m not done with my brains yet, but Amy is finished with hers. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind ;-)

      • Trixii

        Hey “steve”, it looks like you ARE.done with your brains. You’ve misspelled your own name.

    • angie

      how can anybody say NO BIG LOSS you tell her family and friends that! when someone you love dies it hurts. i hope you never have to fill the same pain as amys poor family !!!

  • Dave

    I’m very saddened by this. I loved Back to Black and I thought Amy was a remarkable talent. It’s a shame she could never get her life back on track. Hopefully she’s at peace now.
    I’ll be listening to Back to Black and Frank for the next few days.

    • Suzanne

      Amy, in my humble opinion, was one of the best things to come out of Britian in a long time. She was a remarkable talent that just couldn’t shake her demons. I just hope she can find some peace now. Much love, sister. xoxo

      • Joshi

        I completely agree with you Suzanne. It makes me sad to see how insensitive people can be on these boards. We love you Amy Winehouse and I hope you rest in peace. <3

  • Sean

    Music Legacy? Best of her generation? I’m already sick of these nonsense headline quotes. Let’s be honest. She had 1 decent album that she milked for the last 5 years. The album barely cracked the Top 10 in the U.S. By most accounts she abused herself so much that she couldn’t even perform live anymore. Tragic? Yes. Unexpected? No. Musical Genius and Legend? Hardly.

  • christine

    No big surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. RIP, Amy.

  • Buffy Freak

    Come on..she was talented but musical legacy? She mananged to produce ONE album….sorry she’s dead but there should be a higher bar for legacy than that…

    • Monique

      She had two albums, Frank and Back to Basic.

      • Trixii

        Oh wow, okay TWO whole albums………

    • Summer

      A legacy in the sense that a lot of other artists did look up to her, yes.

    • M

      Sadly she was not able to produce much work, but Back to Black completely revitalized R&B/Soul music and she paved the way for so many successful British female artists– Adele, Lily Allen, Duffy, La Roux, Florence and the Machine, etc. Lady Gaga has credited Amy Winehouse for making it easier for an unconventional woman to have mainstream success. Since Amy Winehouse, there have been plenty of eccentric successful artists, such as Gaga or Nicki Minaj, all of whom can attribute their success to Winehouse.

  • jaz10000

    jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown only had two albums, yet every jazzer will cop to Brown’s “legacy”. i’m not into pop,but this girl had commanding pipes and revived that great Motown sound.

  • Squishmar

    As I said on the other board…not surprising; very, very sad; such a waste. At least she’s at peace now.

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