This morning the news arrived that so many music fans had feared for years. Amy Winehouse is dead, found by paramedics in her North London home a few hours ago. It is uncomfirmed what killed her and though she had been suffering emphysema, her rampant drug and alcohol addicitions must have ultimately played a part.
At age 27, she joins a morbid club of other music stars whose lives were mysteriously cut short at that age. I’d always been sceptical of the “27 Club” believing the deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain at 27 had nothing to do with any thing other than coincidence. With Amy Winehouse, it was different. Her music and image were very much a throwback to the 60s and she was no doubt aware of her heroes from that era who died at 27.Whether or not this was suicide, the messy affliction of ego, arrogance and insecurity was a cocktail she may’ve struggled with. Had she held on just several more weeks, she wouldn’t be in the same company of those greats; now she is forever linked.
Winehouse only released two albums, but won a slew of Grammys and arguably did more than any other British singer to lead the worldwide revival of soul music. With no Amy Winehouse there may’ve been no Adele, no Duffy, no Amy MacDonald, no Paloma Faith – the list goes on. Sounding like a modern cross between Dusty Springfield and Gladys Knight, Winehouse is best epitomized in her hit song Tears Dry On Their Own – a brilliant sample of the Motown classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough with new lyrics and melody. Like so many, her life was tormented by untold demons which perhaps ultimately consumed her. Her legacy, like her heroes, is more so in her influence than the length of her hit list. RIP.