The music of Amy Winehouse will live forever.
Simply a legend of modern British music, her sole pair of studio albums resonated with a global audience, culminating in the London vocalist scooping five Grammy awards in one night.
A light that burned too briefly, Amy Winehouse died 10 years ago today – July 23rd – and her legacy is supported by documentaries, books, and the testimony of countless artists who followed in her wake.
Each song, each performance from Amy seemed to be scorched with her presence, reinvigorating older forms and setting trends for others to follow.
Clash writers pick out their favourite Amy Winehouse moments, to honour her life and memory.
Ms Winehouse’s voice was made for steady jazz. The down tempo version of Some Unholy War (featured in Asif Kapadia’s ‘Amy’) is supremely moving. A present desperation in the vocal, haunting backing accompaniment and marching drums drenched in ghost notes. The original version features on her timeless album ‘Back To Black’.
There’s a decisive flexibility in her discography; and a snarling honesty. No nonsense. Amy Winehouse was not bound to any one genre; she could ebb and flow finding the perfect space within the music. ‘Some Unholy War’s lyrical content displays her two sides, a fiercely determined yet complicated young woman. “I’ll battle ’til this bitter finale Just me, my dignity and this guitar case…”
Amy Winehouse was plain talking and true, unafraid to sing about dark and often controversial subject matter. A mouthpiece for the lost, her fervid legacy lives on even a decade after her passing. An undeniable Great.
Has any song ever so deftly caricatured its singer the way ‘Rehab’ does Amy Winehouse? Her melancholy story arc crisply laid out over three-and-a-half lean minutes. Such incendiary talent. Such a brittle temper. Such mediocre men. The story goes Amy was shopping for Blake’s birthday present in NYC with Mark Ronson when she told him about a time she was asked by her dad to cut down on the booze. The hook line came out fully formed, apparently, making big stars out of both of them.
The song could so easily have been recorded as a ballad – think about it – but praise god for Mark Ronson’s magpie instincts, snaffling all the shiniest motifs from his trunk of Motown and classic soul. ‘Rehab’ is both Amy Winehouse’s defining artistic statement, and her tragic epitaph – grooving along at the speed of a trainwreck, harmonised by a chorus line of her own angels and demons.
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Tyler James and Amy Winehouse – ‘Best For Me’