The World Remembers Amy Winehouse On What Would Have Been Her 37th Birthday
Moving online tributes are today being offered to mark what would have been the 37th birthday of the uniquely talented Amy Winehouse.
A gifted lyricist, Amy sung about love and heartbreak as if these were the two forces that moved the tides.
She was a young woman when she wrote her multi-award winning album Back to Black, but to me – and to so many others – it felt as if she had already lived a thousand lives.
Poetic, astute, confessional; Amy spoke for so many of us whose lives have at one time or another been gobbled up whole by another person. Her emotional intelligence was vast; a crashing, melodious ocean of language and rhythm, coolness and vulnerability.
There was something deep and ancient and stirring about Amy. She transcended the cheap tabloid jibes and the everyday banalities of mistakes and disappointment, transforming them, her life and her emotions into beautiful and soulful music.
Standing starkly outside of time and trends, Amy’s personal style embodied everything from rockabilly to gangster moles, 1960’s girl groups to vintage screen sirens; a colourful, striking, swaggering ode to the art which had shaped her.
But for all her referential nods, nothing could quite define that voice, which – no matter how many times I hear it over the radio – still gives me chills.
Amy could play around with vocal styles with what appeared to be perfect ease, and a deep appreciation of the genres that inspired her. A jazz singer, she could also incorporate contemporary R&B and pop into her music, bringing us nostalgia alongside something we’d never quite heard before.
There was still so much more to come from Amy when she died at the age of 27. The best, perhaps. We should have seen her produce multiple, generation-defining albums. The sort of songs that stop you dead in your tracks, make you remember certain times and certain people.
And yet, during her life and beyond, her words and her majestic voice have soothed many a pained and ordinary heart. And, on what should have been her 37th birthday, it’s clear she has not been forgotten.
Many of those who knew and worked alongside her have come forward to pay tribute. Island Records, which released her second and final album Back to Black, wrote ‘Happy Birthday, Amy’ on Twitter, finished with a little red heart.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation, which was established after her death to help others, tweeted:
Today, 14th September would have been Amy’s 37th birthday. It’s also the 9th anniversary of the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Today we celebrate Amy’s life, her beautiful spirit and the gift of music that she brought to millions of people across the world. Happy Birthday Amy.
Meanwhile, a post on Amy’s official Instagram page – which is still active – reads:
Happy Birthday Amy… ⠀
14.09.1983 – forever
Singer Tony Bennett, who collaborated with Amy for his Grammy award winning album, Duets II, tweeted:
Thinking of my dear friend and collaborator @amywinehouse today on her birthday. Amy had a rare talent we only see once in a generation. It was an honor to know and work with her.
Many fans have taken time out today to share clips of Amy singing live on stage, recalling their own happy memories of seeing her in concert. And no doubt many of us will be listening to her once again today.
Journalist and presenter John Wilson tweeted:
I live just behind #AmyWinehouse’s house. Her music has been drifting in from Camden Square all day. Just realised why – she would have been 37 today. This beautiful Losing Game ends with her plaintive ‘was that alright?’. Yes. It was.
Meanwhile, the London Underground left a birthday message for Amy on a service information board, cleverly referencing her lyrics and memorable sense of style.
For example, one line read:
Take the box of hidden treasures away, it takes more than pumps and forbidden pleasures to impress a lioness today.
Happy birthday, Amy. We’ll be putting your records on the turntable tonight.
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