Amy Winehouse dies at 27

David Moulder 24 July 2011

A short tribute to a troubled, but tremendously gifted artist.

One day on from the discovery of Amy Winehouse dead in her apartment, the biggest shock is the tragic inevitability of it all. Winehouse’s mother was quoted as having already come to terms with the loss of her daughter to a drug and alcohol-fuelled abyss. This all reflects a woman who could, quite simply, not cope with fame. In and out of the tabloids, in terms of notoriety Amy Winehouse was on a level with a hefty lineage of rock’n’roll stars that also claimed Kurt Cobain at the same age.

First and foremost, Amy Winehouse should be remembered for her great contribution to music. 2006’s Back to Black catapulted the singer to fame with a wealth of grammy-winning material. It is a near-certainty and a great shame that the her great hit, Rehab, will now be forever tinged with a bitter irony. Yet the album is a far more complete triumph.

However, it is perhaps 2003’s Frank that was the greater musical achievement. The album met a universally warm reception, a victory of Winehouse’s influences from jazz to soul to funk. Nominated for that year’s Mercury Prize, her first single ‘Stronger than Me’ reflected the overall quality of the album.

Amy Winehouse was a trailblazer. The new generation of female artists owe a great debt to her, whether it be Adele or Duffy or even Lady Gaga. To quote Winehouse’s Beat the Point to Death “I’m sick of having to seek some peace/Because I need emotion with my physical release”. Hopefully now she has at last found that peace that fame had robbed from her.

David Moulder