Saturday, July 23, 2011


 I've never re-posted one of my posts, but on this sad day and in memory of the great Amy Winehouse here is my original post from 2007 about my discovering her. 

A few months ago I started to hear the name Amy Winehouse here and there. I had never heard of her, but her name caught my imagination and then I saw a few photos of her and I knew that I had to search her out. So I went to You tube and there she was. With a click of the mouse she came alive and I was hooked big time. Not since I first heard and saw Janis Joplin have I been so taken with a contemporary pop star. I think she is the first great singer of the new century, and if she survives she will be right up there with Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin. I should say that these five greats are my favorite top singers and now I add Amy to that list. I like and love a lot of other singers of course, Dusty Springfield, Etta James, Doris Day (that’s a post in itself), Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole (the only two male singers to make my list), Tina Turner, Patsy Cline, Dione Warwick early Aretha Franklin, the great girl groups of the 60’s, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Anita O’Day and for a few minutes Barbra Streisand back in the days before she became well Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland mainly for her rendition of The Man That Got Away in “A Star Is Born”. Quite a group. But what is it about Ms. Winehouse that I find so God damn appealing and habit forming. Well first of all of cause is her magnificent voice. You just don’t expect to hear singing like that coming out of such a tiny and young person. And then there is her look. The black black bee hive hairdo, the tattoos, her sense of fashion or nonfashion, and her vulnerability. But like many of the other women singers that I have loved she’s on a path of self-destruction. I first heard of Billie Holiday actually on the day she died July 17th 1959 when driving with my mother in our red 1957 Pontiac. We were listening to the car radio when an announcer said that she had died. I had just turned 12 and of course had no idea who she was. In fact I thought the guy said that Judy Holliday had died, and indeed she would die tragically a few years later. Did I curse that dear lady by thinking she was dead? In any case I got upset thinking that Judy had died, “No Ira my mother said, its Billie Holiday who died.” “Who was she?” I asked? She was a colored singer. “Was she any good?” “Yes very.” That “yes very” I would find out for myself many years later when I finally heard Billie sing her blues. I had never heard anything like her before or I might add since. Sometimes in the 1980’s when I would get blue maybe over breaking up with a boyfriend or just anything sad or lonely in my life I would put “Lady In Satin” on the stero, light up a joint, crack open a beer, smoke too many cigarettes and cry my eyes out. When I hear Billie sing, I say she is my favorite singer of all time, but then I’ll listen to Sarah Vaughan and say she is my favorite singer of all time, or Dinah Washington is my favorite or Ella Fitzgerald is or Joplin is. I guess you get the drift. Today I bought the dvd “I told You I Was Trouble” which is a dvd of Winehouse in concert from this year and watched about one hour of it. She’s magnificent and maddening. She’s only what 24 and I kept thinking to myself that she’s not long for this world. I could not take my eyes off of her, with her sixties eye makeup and hair, her thin legs her beautiful face and that incredible voice. Every week some kind of crap involving her is in the news. Arrests, drug busts, horrible photos of her and her druggy husband both bashed up and cut, with blood all over them, domestic violence written in blood on her face. I thought it was a still from a new Cronenberg movie. Concerts have been cancelled or gone bad, very bad with audiences booing and walking out. And then there is the drinking and drugging on stage, the parodies of her on YouTube and all those nasty comments. This little lady needs help big time before its too late. I’ve not cared about any singers for a long time and I have no idea what Jennifer Lopez or Britney Spears sound like but I wish that they would just go away. Does anyone actually listen to them? Of course they do, look at all the money they make. This kind of pop crap began with Madonna with her tiny voice and now continues today with the likes of Pink, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani and so many other bad singers. But then along comes Amy Winehouse, “she’s the real thing” my friend Peter said after he finally heard her great cd “Back To Black”. Yes she’s the real thing, edgy, talented, dangerous but ultimately sad and a real heartbreaker.

Pictures of Amy Winehouse, Sarah Vaughan, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Dinah Washington & Billie Holiday



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