I’m conscious that fewer female artists feature in my musical posts so I’m going to rectify that omission.
This week’s track is from the late, great Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011)3 an English singer and songwriter known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues and jazz.
A member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra during her youth, Winehouse signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Management in 2002 and soon recorded a number of songs before signing a publishing deal with EMI. Winehouse’s debut album, Frank, was released in 2003. Many of the album’s songs were influenced by jazz and, apart from two covers, were co-written by Winehouse. Frank was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The song “Stronger Than Me” won her the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors.
Winehouse released her follow-up and final studio album, Back to Black, in 2006, which went on to become an international success and one of the best-selling albums in UK history. At the 2007 Brit Awards it was nominated for British Album of the Year, and she received the award for British Female Solo Artist.
This week’s track is the song Rehab, the first single release from Back to Black. Produced by Mark Ronson, the lyrics are autobiographical and address Winehouse’s refusal to enter a rehabilitation clinic. The song peaked at number 7 in the UK singles Chart and number 9 in the US’s Billboard Hot 100, becoming Winehouse’s only top 10 hit in the US.
Rehab became an international critical and commercial success, and has been referred to as Winehouse’s signature song. It won three Grammy Awards at the 50th ceremony, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It also won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.
Winehouse was plagued by drug and alcohol addiction. She sadly died of alcohol poisoning in July 2011, joining the 27 club (a list of musicians, artists, athletes, and actors who all died at 27). After her death, Back to Black temporarily became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century.