With the untimely death of Amy Winehouse last weekend, the music world loses one of its greatest natural talents and a true icon of soul music.
It came as a shock, although perhaps not as a surprise, when British singer Amy Winehouse passed away at the age of 27 in her Camden home on Saturday, July 23. Her worldwide fanbase had been hoping that she would eventually escape the rollercoaster ride of her personal life - the drink and drugs problems, the ill-fated marriage, the depression, the poor health - that inevitably afftected her professional career.
In a time of synthetic stars created by reality shows on a weekly basis, Amy entered the pop world with an air of authenticity and the true talent to back it up. Her first album, the Mercury Prize-nominated Frank (2003), was produced by Salaam Remi and was the subject of much critical praise.
Rapper Jay-Z credited Winehouse with revitalising the impact of British music, saying, "There's a strong push coming out of London right now, which is great. It's been coming ever since Amy. I mean it was always there, but this resurgence was ushered in by Amy.”
Amy Winehouse was gifted with a swaying contralto voice, impeccable taste in phrasing and idiosyncratic, eye winking references in style, outfit and attitude to the grand epoque of 60s soul groups like the Ronettes, the Shangri-Las and the Shirelles. "What she is is mouthy, funny, sultry, and quite possibly crazy," said writer Josh Tyrangiel. "It's impossible not to be seduced by her originality."
With her beehive hairstyle, war paint eyeliner, capri pants and bowling dresses, the quirky, outspoken and excentric North London girl became one of the most recognisable global celebrities.
In 2006, her second (and last) album, the instant classic Back To Black, produced by Remi and Mark Ronson saw her winning five Grammy Awards and garnering the UK's biggest-selling album of 2007.
Her rows with husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, as well as her massive indulgence in alcohol and hard drugs made her private life fodder for tabloids and paparazzi. Following the death of her beloved grandmother in 2006, Amy set off into a downward spiral from which she would never really escape, until last weekend.
Rest your weary soul.
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