Goodbye Amy.

After writing, only in my last post, about the use of drugs and an increase in deaths caused by such things as excessive drinking and smoking, on Saturday, 23rd July, I found out that the brilliant, but troubled singer, Amy Winehouse, had been found dead at her Camden home at the appallingly young age of only 27. I can only say that, as a fan, I was shocked and upset by the news. Indeed, for me, who does not usually become overly-emotional at such things, I was, somewhat to my own surprise, overtly moved and saddened.
Perhaps it is because Amy's life was so turbulent that I felt this way. Having had a long battle with drugs and alcohol, Amy had also had problems, it had been reported, in the area of mental health. At one stage she was said to have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although did not take medication for this condition. She was also said to have had trouble with an eating disorder, and on many occasions appeared painfully thin.
Such problems were also, of course, accompanied with a huge, raw talent, and Amy, even though she made only two albums, "Frank" and "Back to Black", was regarded as one of the most talented singers of her generation. Her music, often a fusion of Jazz, Soul and Rock, together with a nod towards the girl groups of the '60s, was indeed worthy of note amongst the other, increasingly homogenised, output of pop groups and singers. Indeed, Amy was, and probably would have described herself as, an "artist", not just another voice on the radio.
Despite this, Amy veered increasingly into the art of self-destruction. Seemingly like so many other female artists before her, Amy seemed to live life in the dramatic fashion of her songs, and indeed, her own plight seems to have become synonymous with her song "Rehab", which contains the unforgettable line, "they wanted me to go to rehab, but I said no, no, no!"
So it was that towards the end of her short, but brilliant career, she perhaps became better known for her tempestuous relationships and frequent forays into drug-taking excess. At the last concert she gave, she was, unfortunately, booed off stage by a resentful crowd as she slurred her way through what became virtually unrecognizable songs.
For me, though, I can't help looking back at the Amy of the years of her first album, "Frank". On its cover is a fresh-faced, smiling, happy, attractive Amy, seemingly with the world at her feet, and before the bee-hive, eye make-up, tattoos and excessive thinness. I can't help thinking that it would be nice to have that Amy still around, giving succour to, and enhancing, our own lives and loves with her music. Sadly, tragically, this cannot be. And surely, through her talent, Amy has left us with an indelible legacy, and despite the excesses, was surely more than "just another rock 'n' roll suicide", as the words in David Bowie's song state.
To me, as one who has experienced mental ill health and also problems with alcohol, Amy's death seems all the more poignant, although I must say that at the time of writing this post, the cause of her death remained "unexplained". I would just say, then, goodbye Amy. You will be missed.
           

Comments

bazza said…
As ever, David, you have expressed this tragedy so very well. I agree totally with everything you have said. From now on it will just be sad memories.
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
dcrelief said…
Hi David.

Shocked, emotionally moved, pretty much describes what I feel.

Bazza is right. Your writing talent and compassion for this special artist is perfectly expressed. Amy deserves the respect you've given.

Thank you, and take care,
Dixie
klahanie said…
Dear David,
A thoughtful and sensitive posting. Although I never 'got' Amy Winehouse and her talent, that's not the point, of course.
Amy, the very troubled young lady, has sadly, become another 'rock and roll' tragedy. Gone, when there should of been so much to live for.
In kindness and respect, Gary.
David said…
Dear bazza, Dixie and Gary,
Thank you all for your comments. Your words pretty much sum up this tragic event- "sad", "shocking", "moving", etc. I just hope my post was an adequate expression of what we all seem to feel about Amy's short, but brilliant, life.
Yours with Many Thanks,
David.

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