September 14 is the celebration of English neo-soul singer, Amy Jade Winehouse’s life. She put her own effortless spin on songs. Winehouse made music that was not only the voice of her generation but a voice of her own. She often mixed genres and sounds to fit her eccentric voice, including soul, blues, jazz, and rock. Some of her most legendary songs were covers. “Valerie”, for example, was originally a single by English Indie Rock band, The Zutons. However, true artists know how to take a good song and give it new life. Just look at “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin. Raw, vulnerable songwriting also emerged from Winehouse’s rocky relationships spiraling out of control.
The death of this remarkable artist in 2011, left the world in disbelief. However, Amy Winehouse left a trail of award-winning albums to speak to our aching hearts. She won five Grammy Awards for her 2006 album Back to Black. The musical genius lies in the fact that she managed to make songs sound modern and from a different era at the same time.
Her albums were painted with pain. She often wrote about battles with addiction and toxic relationships, which ultimately led to a sudden death at the age of 27. An age far too young for a woman with so much talent left to give. “Rehab”, the leading single from Back to Black clearly exhibits the constant struggle she faced to stay clean. Winehouse was in the hospital for her excessive drinking prior to this song. This tune was her honest take on everyone voicing their concerns about her problem. Mark Ronson became her new co-producer leading to a new sound direction on her hit song, “Back to Black”. It was inspired by Winehouse’s ex, Blake Fielder-Civil returning to a previous girlfriend. She called it quits on a drug-infested relationship and refused rehab again.
People have tried to compare her to other artists in the soul and r&b genre, but none can produce haunting sounds the same way. Amy Winehouse is not alive anymore but her words and soulful songs live on for the world.
Here’s a list of Amy Winehouse’s most iconic lyrics we’ll always remember.
“They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no. Yes, I been black/ But when I come back, you’ll know, know, know.”
“We only said goodbye with words.”
“I died a hundred times. You go back to her and I go back to black.”
“Love is a losing game, one I wish I never played.”
“I cried for you on the kitchen floor, I cheated myself, like I knew I would.”
“Cause since I’ve come on home, well my body’s been a mess.”
“We coulda never had it all, we had to hit a wall, so this is inevitable withdrawal.”
“I don’t ever wanna drink again. I just, ohh, I just need a friend.”
“I can’t help ya if you won’t help yourself.”
“I’ve forgotten all of young love’s joy.”
“The lights are on, but no one’s home. She’s so vacant her soul is taken.”
Happy Birthday, Amy Winehouse!