Amy Winehouse dead at 27.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her London flat, aged 27.

Police are investigating the ‘unexplained’ death, although it was well known that the ‘Rehab’ singer battled drug and alcohol addictions for the past few years.

The British soul singer had a rocky relationship with success, ever since her breakthrough records.

This from the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square shortly before 4.05pm (1505 GMT) on Saturday, following reports of a woman found deceased,” a police statement said.

Winehouse pulled out of a recent comeback tour following a disastrous performance in Serbia.

The singer initially pulled out of festival shows in Istanbul and Athens but her management then cancelled all her remaining gigs.”

Amy Winehouse made it big with her first critically successful album ‘Frank’ in 2003. It was, however, her 2006 album ‘Back to Black’ that made her a household name, leading to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins. It was to be the equal best record set by a female singer in a single night.

The girl had talent.

But she never quite found a way to balance her lifestyle.

Most of my music collection is made up of two genres:  soul and jazz. I don’t pretend to be an aficionado by any means but when given a chance that’s what I’ll play. Etta James. Dusty Springfield.  Diana Krall. Aretha. Amy Winehouse.   I think Amy Winehouse deserves credit for  – in my eyes at least – reigniting the world’s love affair with female soul in recent years.  Some say that badge of honour belongs to Joss Stone but I think it was Winehouse who brought that real rawness to the airwaves; a moodiness, an edginess that Joss Stone lacks.  Winehouse paved the way for the likes of Duffy and Adele and even our own Gabriella Cilmi.

To me, Winehouse’s death is a tragedy. What’s tragic is  that her talent wasn’t enough to get her through her tough times.  In the end, she got in her own way. I was ever hopeful she’d get back on track.

But regardless of that, wherever I am, whenever it comes on, I always stop what I’m doing when Rehab comes on the radio. It’s just one of those songs that makes you want to sway your hips, get on your feet and move. Whatever else Winehouse is remembered for – who cares?  –  ’cause baby, that’s some kind of legacy …

Friend and former addict Russell Brand penned his own moving, honest tribute to the singer. Thanks for bringing it to our attention SometimesKaren. He writes:

I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool Indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.

Russell Brand and Amy Winehouse

Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.”

Read more of Russell’s tribute to his friend on his website here.

Here’s a gallery of Amy throughout the years…