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Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)
July 23, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe


 
She should have said "yes" to rehab. And meant it.
posted by jscalzi at 10:45 AM on July 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sad, but not surprising.
posted by Jehan at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


i am sad but not surprised.
posted by nadawi at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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My condolences to her fans and family.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2011


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Poor thing. All that pain in her music. Sad that she wasn't able to escape it. Somebody like Eminem could have easily end up this way also.
posted by cashman at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Extraordinarily talented, such a waste. Addiction is cruel mistress.

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posted by Rumple at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Damn, she wasn't kidding.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:48 AM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


What a bummer . . . to see a titanic talent ground down to nothing like that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:48 AM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]




There are too many young people dead in today's news. Poor kid.
posted by oneironaut at 10:48 AM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is somehow unsurprising and shocking at the same time. Incredibly sad.
posted by swift at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Fuck fuckity Fuck Fuck. One of my heroes. Dammit.

I wrote her an audio open letter a few years ago...I've always thought that she was such a brilliant artist and stuff like Love Is A Foolish Game would be standards decades from now..she could have been comparable to Nina simone if she had lived long enough.

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posted by By The Grace of God at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


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posted by Bwithh at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2011


Love Is A Losing Game I mean.
posted by By The Grace of God at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by box at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, so sad.

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posted by wallabear at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by h00py at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2011


I guess this is kind of ghoulish, but I wish she had died on a weeknight, so I could watch Craig Ferguson's monologue about her later in the evening.
posted by stavrogin at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not unexpected, but still surprising to hear.
posted by tommasz at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by danb at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2011


How terribly sad.

I wish her peace.
posted by mazola at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She had a fantastic voice on her. I was hoping she'd be able to kick all this trouble and make stuff that would be some new standards, because she had the skill.

She just didn't have what it took to get out, and without that... skill ain't much.
posted by cmyk at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I cheated myself
Like I knew I would
I told you I was trouble
You know that I'm no good."
posted by MegoSteve at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


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posted by Gucky at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2011


This is a good post. Thank you mods for waiting for this one.

Such a talent, such a waste.

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posted by Navelgazer at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by dabitch at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2011


"What do you expect? You left me here alone; I drank so much and needed to touch"
posted by squalor at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


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posted by lampshade at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011


The surprising part to me was that she was 27. She's three months younger than I am, but looked 20 years older.
posted by kafziel at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


There was a time in my life when all I wanted to do was listen to Black To Black on repeat and cry so


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posted by The Whelk at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by nthdegx at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


requiescat in pace ✝
posted by Tom-B at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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A gigantic voice attached to a very f'ed up psyche. I will miss that voice.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by spitefulcrow at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2011


So sad to hear this. She had a fascinating voice and a tortured soul. My heart goes out to her family and friends during this sudden time of sorrow.

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posted by hippybear at 10:56 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by Skorgu at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2011


Amy Winehouse "Back to Black"
posted by needled at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


So very, very sad. Such a waste.

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posted by triggerfinger at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2011


Damn.

Sigh.

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posted by mattbucher at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had to explain to anyone why they should care, I would just have them listen to the demo of "Love Is A Losing Game".

Not only could she sing like that, she could write songs like that.

What a horrible waste.

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posted by Trurl at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011 [30 favorites]


The surprising part to me was that she was 27.

27 is a popular age for young artists with problems to die. Jimi, Janis, Kurt, and Amy all come immediately to mind. Something something return of Saturn something.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


"Unexplained"? Bullshit.

Could see this coming for years, but it's still too tragic.
posted by fifthrider at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011


thescientificmethhead: "Borked link above: video of Belgrade performance"

Jesus. That was painful. :(

I'm sad someone had to suffer, it'd be easy for me to snark. I never got into her music and it wasn't my thing, but it's just tragic, regardless.

And dear "rock critic" who said in the article I read that you were "shocked'... Uh... Really? It's about as shocking as Cobain dying.
posted by symbioid at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by naju at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011


The curse of 27?
posted by telstar at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear, Jim Morrison was also 27. But yeah... 27. Damn. I didn't realize she was so young.
posted by symbioid at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tragic. So many people seemed to determined to turn her life into a morality lesson - including herself. So very sad for her friends a family.
posted by helmutdog at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2011


The surprising part to me was that she was 27. She's three months younger than I am, but looked 20 years older.

Yeah, I thought the same thing. Terrible to see what happened to her - the Belgrade concert wasn't the first time she took the stage in no fit state to be doing anything. Can only hope that people in a similar position get motivated to get some help.
posted by ZsigE at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2011


She should have said "yes" to rehab. And meant it.

She's been dying a lot lately.


Y'all know any 27-year-old addicts?

I do. My brother is one.

He is practically a child, because his emotional development got stunted by his addictions. I have been exhausted--my own life practically ruined--by chasing around after his ass until I couldn't anymore. Last month he called me at 6:45 AM every day from jail. This month I haven't heard from him because the rehab he's in now took his phone away.

I am lucky that he is no one and has nothing, because when someone finds him dead in his home because rehab failed yet again--or because he failed rehab--no one will make jokes about it. When I have to actually write down the obituary I've already written in my head ("2002 graduate of XXXXXX High School; received a BA from XXXXXXXXX University in 2005; preceded in death by his parents, grandfathers, and uncle; survived by his sister and 3 half-siblings") there won't be any jokes about how he failed.

So I'm mostly glad that the shitty jokes about someone just found dead who struggled with drugs have been kept to a minimum. But I just want to say. All the times she said yes to rehab? She probably meant it, or at least she thought she did.

Meaning it isn't really the point. And it's also the only point.
posted by liketitanic at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2011 [313 favorites]


Tormented and talented - I always hoped she could beat her demons. What a sad life.
Monkey Man, another fave.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had been working on a post since I heard about the news. The heart of it was really this sad, Rolling Stone interview from 2008.
posted by geoff. at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by kestrel251 at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2011


This is how I like to remember her. Amy Winehouse in 2004.
posted by Pendragon at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by daniel_charms at 11:03 AM on July 23, 2011


RIP Amy. Her Vh1 unplugged performance here
posted by Plug1 at 11:03 AM on July 23, 2011


Back to Black is now haunted with all kinds of new depths of meaning. This video sent shivers down my spine before this news and now...whew.
posted by telstar at 11:04 AM on July 23, 2011


No, no, no.

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posted by e.e. coli at 11:04 AM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't want to watch that Belgrade performance because I don't want to have a ruined performance be how I think of her. I can't say her death is tragic compared to other current events, but it's a shame her demons appear to have gotten to her (even if it turns out to be "natural causes" of a body messed up by drugs simply failing her). The "sad, but not surprising" comments upthread sum it up.

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posted by immlass at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2011


I'm saddened by the loss of her, and angry at her management/handlers for contiuing to loosen the line and just let her out there instead of reeling her the fuck in. Yes, you need a money train, great, but she is fucking sick and she needed help. Was. Was, fuck. That belgrade performance after so many other performances makes me so angry -- WHY wasn't there anyone in her life that could step up? Where was any support system at all?

Agh.

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posted by cavalier at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


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posted by Busithoth at 11:06 AM on July 23, 2011


She should have said "yes" to rehab. And meant it.

You can mean it and still have weakness and succumb to it all over again. On preview, what liketitanic said.

She had a great talent and an awesome, astounding voice. And she was, for all the most unfortunate reasons, easy prey for the vultures of the 21st-century gossip media circus, which I notice nobody's talking about much amidst all the snark about what a freaking surprise her death was.
posted by blucevalo at 11:07 AM on July 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


This sucks. Also, as far as I'm concerned, anyone who finds it funny or deserving can go fuck themselves.
posted by horsemuth at 11:07 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shit - only 27? I would say I feel old, but that's not the case.

In memory: The Ska EP
Monke Man
Hey Little Rich Girl (live)
You're Wondering Now (live with The Specials)
Cupid (Live)
You're wondering now, what to do, that you know this is the end...

----------------------------------------------------------------
I was working on something when the series of prior posts got deleted, but as this one is sticking, I'll dump my draft here:
----------------------------------------------------------------

Amy Winehouse, more recently known for her tumultuous life than her music, was found found dead at her north London home (BBC post, continuing to be updated). Her life at a glance: born on September 14, 1983 in Enfield, Middlesex to a music-loving family. Jump ahead, past years of music studies, to her first album in 2003. Frank was released on Island Records, with the singles Stronger Than Me, Take The Box, In My Bed and F*** Me Pumps. Three years later, Winehouse returns from the studio with a new look (the beehive), and released a second album with Back to Black, with the singles You Know I'm No Good, Back to Black", Tears Dry on Their Own, Love Is a Losing Game, and the autobiographical Rehab.

Even though she only released two albums, she was nominated for a number of awards for the first (BRIT Awards in the categories of "British Female Solo Artist" and "British Urban Act"; and the album also made the short list for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize; she won the Ivor Novello songwriting Award for Best Contemporary Song, alongside Salaam Remi, with her contribution to the first single, "Stronger Than Me"), and her next album was nominated for 6 Grammys, of which she won 5.

One month ago, there was a sadly timely article: How to Save a Life: Is There Any Hope for Amy Winehouse? No, no, no.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2011 [50 favorites]


Don't watch the Belgrade footage.

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posted by scruss at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


Like others say, the fact that the died is, sadly, not surprising. But she was just 27? So much sadder.

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posted by benito.strauss at 11:09 AM on July 23, 2011


Very sad. Back to Black is one of my all-time favorite albums.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2011


Addiction is a stone cold bitch, no doubt about it. But I can't help thinking that someone like Amy Winehouse, a successful artist with friends and means, couldn't easily end up like this without a ton of enablers helping.

(I know, I know - addicts are gonna be addicts. Still...)

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posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2011


Oh no ... She was prodigiously talented. And so full of pain.
posted by Cocodrillo at 11:12 AM on July 23, 2011


Well, goddamn.
posted by Gilbert at 11:13 AM on July 23, 2011


This is so sad and strangely unexpected--part of me honestly believed that she would end up living to a ripe old age, a la Keith Richards.

RIP, Amy. This is how I'll remember you.
posted by wondrous strange snow at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2011


The Janis Joplin of the 200s.
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posted by wheelieman at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


She should have said "yes" to rehab. And meant it.

You can mean it and still have weakness and succumb to it all over again.


I was listening to Science Friday yesterday about the early days of cocaine and all the physicians in the late 1800s who ended up as coke addicts because they were experimenting on themselves and didn't know the dangers. The guy who wrote the book that was being talked about explained the root of the word "addict".

It started off as a Latin word meaning, when you owe someone money and can't repay and a judge orders you to become a servant to that person until your debt is paid. You're legally awarded to that person (addicere) until your debts are paid. Once you're done with your time of addictus, you're once again your own free person.

Over time and a couple of meaning shifts, we end up with the concept that people are literally enslaved by substances because the reward centers of their brain are rewired to not be able to say "no", and that only through very difficult work can they learn safe and healthy habits and choices for themselves.

It's easy to mean it with your upper brain when you go into rehab. It's very difficult to get your lower brain to cooperate with that intent.

So, yeah. Unless you've struggled with something similar, don't make such glib remarks about how all you have to do is mean it. It's not that simple.
posted by hippybear at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2011 [95 favorites]


I was working retail during the height of "Rehab"s popularity and my manager had a major crush on her. I'd never really listened to her music -- at least, actively, I'd heard it plenty it became apparent -- but he got in a mood one day and threw the song on repeat for a good half hour.

I have been able to stand very, very few songs on repeat like that. The only one I can recall off the top of my head is Dolly's "Jolene." Well, "Rehab" got added to the club that day.

Peace out, Amy Winehouse. You were grand.
posted by griphus at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


That first thread didn't cut it. And I didn't know if someone else was going to take the wheel. So I put a FPP together as well. It would be just as well with me if this one stayed.

But here is the one I created. It has some interesting links for everyone interested.

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posted by Mike Mongo at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


I just listened to Back to Black for the first time (I know, I've ignored it for five years). Regardless of original context, to me it plays out as a bleak, tragic masterpiece. "Rehab" is now the saddest pop hit I can think of.
posted by naju at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2011


Oh 27.
Brace yourself for a shitload of bad airbrush art of her and Cobain and Hendrix and Morrison and Janis playing Rock Band at the pearly gates and other such numbskulleries.

Still I'm glad to have seen her pull it together long enough to play a pretty terrific set at Coachella 07. Even then no one expected her to pull it off. And that was over four years ago.

RIP.
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posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the extra stuff there, Mike Mongo.
posted by cortex at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]



Addiction is a stone cold bitch, no doubt about it. But I can't help thinking that someone like Amy Winehouse, a successful artist with friends and means, couldn't easily end up like this without a ton of enablers helping.


Addicts find their enablers. It's one of the things they do best.

When my brother had a major psychotic episode two years ago (chronicled in my AskMe posts if you're curious), fueled in part by his addiction to heroin, I threw my life down to try to help him. To try to save him. I moved away from my wife, from whom I am now separated, in part because we didn't live together during our first year of marriage. I rented a place 5 blocks away from my brother's house in New Orleans in order to try to care for him. I canceled my PhD comprehensive exams at the risk of losing a full year of funding; I delayed starting my dissertation; I left behind my friends and quit both my teaching job and a mentoring gig mid-semester so I could do the circuit of hospitals and shrinks with him. I spent most of my modest inheritance that I received after the death of our mother so that I could pay to support myself without a job in a city where I had no friends or contacts (except for some MeFi folks who were an amazing help to me--ColdChef, ms.conduct, kohara, radioamy, s*, tizzie, and others). I let him sleep in my room when he was too suicidal to be alone. I met a scary drug dealer to try to get him out of a bad deal. I faced down his manic ass to wrestle him into good care. I offered to bring him back home with me. To find somewhere he could live with me and my wife so that he could get good care and try again.

He didn't want to. Now he's facing a felony conviction and has been using drugs since I moved back home late in 2009. I'm divorcing and I've wasted two years of academic funding and he still might be killed or kill himself.

Amy Winehouse had friends and means. So do most addicts, at some point. Friends and means are not enough. If they were, so many things would be different.

Did I mention I myself am only six months older than Amy Winehouse is?
posted by liketitanic at 11:19 AM on July 23, 2011 [140 favorites]


I'm sorry. This is hitting me surprisingly hard.
posted by liketitanic at 11:20 AM on July 23, 2011 [21 favorites]


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posted by Sommar at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2011


Partly because I listened to "Rehab" on repeat the week after my mom died when I was driving around dealing with her bullshit mess.

Okay, gonna go watch Friday Night Lights for a few hours now.
posted by liketitanic at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by Meatbomb at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by jquinby at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2011


Wow, liketitanic.
posted by cashman at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by pernoctalian at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2011


I think discussions of Winehouse will focus on her rock and roll lifestyle and the coincidence of artists who died at 27. For me, this is a bit of a distraction.

She was bipolar. 30-60 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have substance abuse problems. 30 percent of cocaine abusers fit the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. And treatment can help, but it's no guarantee: It's effective for 60-80 percent of those who get antidepressants and psychotherapy, but that still leaves 20-50 percent for whom therapy isn't effective.

And bipolar disorder, along with other sorts of depression, is awesomely destructive -- the WHO estimates that 850,000 people die from it each year.

Of course, we don't know what Winehouse died of yet. If it was from overdose or by her own hand, I will try to remember that she had an illness, and an often fatal one.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2011 [35 favorites]


This is tragic, and not least because it's been so obvious to so many for so long that she was hurling herself headlong into darkness when all she had to do was flip that light on.

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posted by misha at 11:24 AM on July 23, 2011


She always played up her image as a drug addict though, for whatever reason. She probably thought that it would make her seem more edgy and thus more profitable. I mean, how many other jazz singers have gained the same kind of fame that she did? I think that that style of music is usually associated with stodgy old people but Winehouse had a lot of appeal to younger people. I think in part because of her image.

So it wasn't just that she was a drug addict but that she was also playing the roll of a drug addict. If she'd worn different makeup, not gotten so many tattoos people probably would not have thought of her as a stereotypical drug addict. But the same time, she may never have become so famous. Keep in mind when she broke out she already had this image.
posted by delmoi at 11:25 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even when she was performing at her best, it never seemed like Winehouse quite knew how to end a song. It felt like she'd sooner let them peter out than reach the crescendo you were expecting, offering what always seemed like an uncharacteristically meek shrug instead, often before the horn section had even finished playing or her backup dancers had stopped dancing.

I've been caught off guard by how gutted it's made me feel that her life would end in much the same way.
posted by wreckingball at 11:25 AM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by motty at 11:25 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, this makes me so sad. All of it. Fuck.

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posted by rtha at 11:28 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by lord_wolf at 11:28 AM on July 23, 2011


I want to find something I read forever ago (maybe it was in Trainspotting, but for some reason I don't think so) about how for addicts, alcoholics, whatnot, the hardest aspect to lose is the social one. When you're at a bar with other barflies you've got a circle of people bound by standards not to be judgmental, and when you've got those friends in the "keep drinking" corner and in the other corner are people who are disappointed in you, it's very hard to make the jump over.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2011 [10 favorites]



She's so good in early performances, and went downhill so quickly. Sad.
posted by Huck500 at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2011


In addition to the drugs, she had eating disorders and emphysema. Emphysema at age 27. Whatever the official cause of death is listed as, really it was suicide.

It's a terrible waste, but when someone is so determined to destroy themself, sometimes they'll succeeded no matter what is done.
posted by happyroach at 11:30 AM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is hitting me surprisingly hard as well. Fuck.
posted by nevercalm at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2011


So it wasn't just that she was a drug addict but that she was also playing the roll of a drug addict. If she'd worn different makeup, not gotten so many tattoos people probably would not have thought of her as a stereotypical drug addict. But the same time, she may never have become so famous. Keep in mind when she broke out she already had this image.

In my experience, which is limited to knowing addicts, rather than being an addict myself, one of the most dangerous parts of addiction is its sense of itself as being cool. There is something awfully seductive about it -- many users I have known feel like they are part of a lawless, renegade underground, and don't see their addiction as a health issue, but a lifestyle choice, ideal for their rebellious, revolutionary personalities.

I think this makes it harder for people to seek help. It's not just that they're leaving drugs behind, it's that they are leaving an entire lifestyle, and an important sense of themselves behind. A lot of people like drugs, but love the sense that it gives them that they are not boring.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2011 [28 favorites]


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posted by katillathehun at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2011


God, liketitanic. I want to hug you.

I have a brother like yours, who got locked up before he could get any farther into drugs...but I really feel for you.

Damn. So goddamn much pain.

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posted by guster4lovers at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by Dr. Zira at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2011


So sad.

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posted by Sailormom at 11:35 AM on July 23, 2011


:(
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posted by liza at 11:36 AM on July 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was hoping - in fact I at first assumed - that when the first post linking to a single BBC page got deleted, that it was deleted because this was some sort of Lulz Sec hoax.
This is very sad to me. She had a great, singular talent and seemed, under everything, the addiction, the fights, the makeup and the beehive, to be a sweet, nice North London girl.
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posted by Flashman at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by nevafeva at 11:41 AM on July 23, 2011


Back to Black has been in heavy rotation for me since it came out and I think people build relationships with music and therefore, in a way, with the musicians. I don't know how many times I've felt cynical and depressed and a lyric came to mind instead of my own thoughts. But anyway, a moment ago I was posting a video of Amy Winehouse sitting in a living room singing Valerie on Facebook. It wasn't up for 2 minutes when some guy posted below it, "You know 92 people died yesterday in Norway, right?" In fact, I did know. So I took it down because I hate confrontation.

Shortly after that his status was "Norway, your story is a tragedy. Amy, your story is just a story." and I being a drama nerd and a bit of a snark, I thought, "Wow, he actually has that completely backwards." And that, at least for me, sums up all the fuss and the attention dedicated to her. There's the flaw and the reversal of fortune and so we're left with (unsurprisingly) catharsis. It's how tragedy was built. Senseless acts of violence? Well that's a lot harder to process.

So yeah, I know there are more important things. But it's tragic and I'm sad and not sorry.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 11:41 AM on July 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


I'm sorry. This is hitting me surprisingly hard.

You, of all people, have nothing to apologize for in here. Good luck to you and your brother.
posted by DigDoug at 11:45 AM on July 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Thin Lizzy, you should have just left the video up and defriended the fighty guy. That's another way to avoid confrontation.

I don't understand why he feels it's an either/or situation. I'm sad about both events.
posted by mmmbacon at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


She had a great talent and an awesome, astounding voice.

Yes. We are all poorer today.

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posted by bearwife at 11:47 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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Interesting tidbit: Amy Winehouse and Adele went to the same high school -- The BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology
posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another artist and artistic talent who grappled with the intensity of their experience and expression... and lost.

To put this in some context, another 82 people will have died by suicide in the U.S. alone in the next 24 hours. I know people don't care as much about them, since they're not as famous or artistic. But their lives are every bit as special, and they all share one thing in common -- the tragedy of the irrational act of suicide. And too damned few people who care and reach out to do something more about it, before it's too late...

I hope Ms. Winehouse found the peace she was looking for but couldn't find on this earth.
posted by docjohn at 11:48 AM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Kimya Dawson's twitter feed is worth reading right now for ruminations on her own struggles with addiction and recovery.
posted by naju at 11:50 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


My sister killed herself. I'm still strangely affected by this, even as I knew of her problems.
posted by nevercalm at 11:50 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


liketitanic:

I am really sorry for your situation. I had an extremely close friend drink and drug himself to death at 38. I tried for years to be his personal anti-enabler - sometimes it worked but mostly it didn't, and the powerlessness is crushing. The fact that your it's your brother makes it that much worse, I'm sure.

My buddy was a smart, funny, generous guy who lost to something stronger than him. But I take solace in the fact that I tried, really tried, to help. I hope you do too - even if the cost has been high.

Good luck.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:51 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brace yourself for a shitload of bad airbrush art of her and Cobain and Hendrix and Morrison and Janis playing Rock Band at the pearly gates and other such numbskulleries.

Close. Saw it on Fark.

Can't say I was a fan but I did think she had an amazing voice. When "Rehab" first caught me unawares, I thought Etta James was making a comeback.

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posted by fuse theorem at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2011


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posted by ob at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2011


I got to see her perform in 2007 and it was amazing. She was amazing.

.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2011


It wasn't up for 2 minutes when some guy posted below it, "You know 92 people died yesterday in Norway, right?" In fact, I did know.

That's infuriating, we can be sad and troubled about more than one thing at a time. Musicians artists, and poets are often a comfort to us when life is hard - we need more of them, not fewer. Norway is unspeakably terrible. But that doesn't mean that Amy's death isn't sad too.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:56 AM on July 23, 2011 [24 favorites]


Well damnit, rest in peace. And I'd like to imagine the place in the multiverse where she conquered her addictions and sang well into her old age. She had a terrific, smokey voice that was meant to be heard and at least in the songs she recorded always will be.
posted by Ruby Stevens at 11:57 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heard about this on the radio in the car. Glad I was at a stoplight, because it physically shook me and yelled out "What the fuck?!" I hadn't heard much about her recently, so was hoping she was getting clean or at least not partying as heavily. She had such an amazing voice, was looking forward to hearing it mature.

But her early death comes as no surprise.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:00 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone to Watch Over Me

.
posted by SarahElizaP at 12:02 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


.

I always forget how young Janis, Jimi, Jim, etc. were, partly because back then I was myself a child. My now nineteen year old son reminds me. 27, fuck. What a voice. So sorry.
posted by emhutchinson at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by sabira at 12:13 PM on July 23, 2011


I've been annoyed by Facebook friends making jokes and being self-righteous about this. She's been the butt of so many jokes basically her whole career but I'm a huge fan of hers. She was a wonderful singer and songwriter. I'm sad about this.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hopefully the US/European celebrity culture obsessed with exploiting her for her illness will now have the decency to give it a fucking rest.
posted by so_gracefully at 12:16 PM on July 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


.
posted by mikehipp at 12:20 PM on July 23, 2011


I knew I loved her since I saw her having never heard of her at Coachella years ago. I knew this day would very likely come even though I hoped so hard that every time she was turning things around things would stick. I didn't know that I'd spend the day weeping at youtube videos of her when this happened, though. God damn it. There's not going to be any more Amy Winehouse music. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
posted by cmoj at 12:20 PM on July 23, 2011


Yup, 27. Should've seen this coming a mile away

Jimi Hendrix
Kurt Cobain
Jim Morrison
Janis Joplin
Brian Jones
Robert Johnson
Amy Winehouse


Amazingly, John Belushi and Bon Scott both made it to 33.
posted by raider at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by fancyoats at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2011


There's no doubt she has been hurting awful bad for an awfully long time. I hope she's finally found some peace.

I don't believe in an afterlife, but I like the idea that she and Billy Holliday are working on some duets, because they would sound pretty fabulous together.
posted by smirkette at 12:23 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Damn, so sad.

Don't know if this has been linked yet, but in her American tv debut on Letterman in 2007, doing Rehab, she was positively on fire, looked healthy and like her future could have been quite bright.
posted by tula at 12:23 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also saw stuff on FB about "sorry, I can't care because 100+ people died in Norway" and I just...seriously, why is it an either/or proposition.
posted by sweetkid at 12:23 PM on July 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


The Rock-n-Heaven All-Stars are welcoming a new singer tonight. Maybe someday we will all be lucky enough to hear one of their concerts.
posted by incandissonance at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2011


.

Amy Winehouse is one of the most fascinating artists to come along in a while. I will never forget that photo of her, walking with, or rather being supported by, her father, from a few years back. She looked ravaged, and her waist was smaller than his leg. My thoughts go to her parents and family.
posted by tarantula at 12:28 PM on July 23, 2011


.

I lost my best friend to drugs & alcohol a few years back. The last few years of her life were torture for her and everyone around her. It's such a fucking waste.

I hope Amy is at peace now.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:28 PM on July 23, 2011


I also saw stuff on FB about "sorry, I can't care because 100+ people died in Norway" and I just...seriously, why is it an either/or proposition.

I was thinking about this when I went downstairs to sit outside and watch FNL and scratch my roommate's whack dachshund who, like us all, I guess just wants some love.

The thing is, this sort of thing--competitive suffering assessment, how dare you care about this when things are worse elsewhere?--is something we see on Metafilter all the time.

But the thing is, this community is also a pretty good illumination of the fact that you just never know where people are, what they've been through, what it takes for them to get through the day, what will affect them. We trip over that every day, all the time. And I get that everyone's gonna make jokes about everything. Or tell us that we can't care about what we care about because it's not the right thing. But we just never know. Anything--everything--can strike us in a way that breaks us.

But I guess one of the ways we get through is by forgetting that, huh? We have to.
posted by liketitanic at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2011 [22 favorites]


Amazingly, John Belushi and Bon Scott both made it to 33.

Not to be all woo-woo on you, but 27-33 is basically the years of Saturn's Return, when the planet of Wisdom comes back to the house it was in when you were born.

The mythos attached to that particular astrological event is that when Saturn returns, you'll be presented with a series of tests in your life to see if you've managed to learn the lessons / gain the wisdom your life was trying to teach you up to that point. If you pass the tests, you'll go forward into the next phase of your life where you'll start on a new round of learning. If you fail, you'll have to repeat the same lessons again until Saturn returns again. If you REALLY fail, well, you simply don't survive.

Not saying I necessarily place much stock in such things, but it's an interesting lens through which to view the stages and cycles of life, and certainly seems to coincide with a certain amount of human development, including the research into brain development and growth spurts / pruning stages.
posted by hippybear at 12:32 PM on July 23, 2011 [45 favorites]


My favorite Amy Winehouse moment is when Rolling Stone referred to her as a human crackpipe.
posted by sciurus at 12:34 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The mythos attached to that particular astrological event is that when Saturn returns, you'll be presented with a series of tests in your life to see if you've managed to learn the lessons / gain the wisdom your life was trying to teach you up to that point. If you pass the tests, you'll go forward into the next phase of your life where you'll start on a new round of learning. If you fail, you'll have to repeat the same lessons again until Saturn returns again. If you REALLY fail, well, you simply don't survive.

I don't put much stock in this either, but at 33 now, I can say this has happened to me over the last few years like whoa.
posted by sweetkid at 12:34 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite Amy Winehouse moment is when Rolling Stone referred to her as a human crackpipe.

Why is that your favourite?
posted by Grangousier at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


My favorite Amy Winehouse moment is when Rolling Stone referred to her as a human crackpipe.

I'd be surprised if Rolling Stone takes much pride in that this moment.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've always thought of her as a spiritual soul sister to Billie Holiday.

May you finally find some peace, honey.

.
posted by dbiedny at 12:39 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was getting a little irked by all the people talking about what she could have accomplished had she gotten her act together. List to Back to Black and tell me that is not an astonishing accomplishment. But listening to it again, as I have twice so far this morning, it is difficult to listen to such brilliance and imagine where her career could have gone.

I hope she gets favorable comparisons to other artists who struggled, Billie Holiday and Anita O'Day come to mind immediately.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:43 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This makes me so profoundly sad.


A couple of years ago I had a coworker that was struggling with addiction. She'd gotten clean for about thirty days, we were so stinking happy for her....and then all of a sudden relapse, boom boom, three days later one of our drivers found her dead at her place when she didn't show up for work.

You know, this all feels like watching a train wreck in very slow motion, knowing there is no way you can stop it and knowing you have to watch a fellow human being die without there being one damned thing you can do about it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:43 PM on July 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ach, liketitanic, that is such an awful story.
posted by joost de vries at 12:44 PM on July 23, 2011


Ach, liketitanic, that is such an awful story.
posted by joost de vries at 12:44 PM on 7/23
[+] [!]


I don't allow myself to think that very much. So. Thanks. Weirdly that is the best thing to hear sometimes.
posted by liketitanic at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm always a little mystified at how certain deaths seem to bring out the worst in public discussion -- the apparently irresistible urge to leap to make the first and worst Twitter joke, the satisfaction taken from defiantly proclaiming a complete lack of sympathy for someone whose body may literally not be cold yet, and the ordering of one death in the universe of events that have happened on a particular day, as if pausing to spend a few minutes thinking about Amy Winehouse will mean the debt ceiling or the famine or Oslo won't be there when you get back ... it's awfully hard for me to understand. There are times when being a contrarian is a profound public service, but funereal gadflies baffle me utterly.

It's a sad ending. Perhaps there are those whose behavior in life means they don't deserve to be grieved, but I don't see how an inability to beat addiction and whatever other problems she clearly had meets that awfully high standard.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:49 PM on July 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


.

Amy Winehouse was a one-in-a-generation natural music talent. She had a phenomenal, raw gift. Here are some renditions of tunes that she is less well known for, but so well done within the context of her exceptional gift.

Amy Winehouse could sing, really sing; she continues to live and share with us within the context of a resonate universe that we - including Ms. Winehouse - remain a part of. Nada Brahma (translated from the Sanskrit to "the Sound is God" or "the World is Sound").
posted by Vibrissae at 12:53 PM on July 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Legalize.
posted by telstar at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sad. I can't say I'm shocked, but I was really hoping she'd get it together and get better. She was really gifted and it's sad things went this way. I feel like the press also really fetishized her drug use--it wasn't just her. (You can see the same thing happening now with Charlie Sheen, though he's less sympathetic.) That Rolling Stone interview is just creepy as hell.

I don't know if Robert Johnson really belongs on that list--he didn't die of a drug habit, he was murdered.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2011


Twitter Discographies had an entry on Amy Winehouse posted less than two weeks ago that now looks eerily prophetic. Discographies also posted a Captain Beefheart entry nine days before he died. Does @discographies have inside info, or is he the Grim Reaper of Rock 'n' Roll?

.
posted by jonp72 at 12:59 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by willbaude at 1:01 PM on July 23, 2011


.
for Amy Winehouse.

very sorry for all that you and your brother are going through, liketitanic.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:02 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by Vindaloo at 1:05 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:07 PM on July 23, 2011


Legalize.
Somehow, I don't think that would have made any positive difference in her case.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:08 PM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


So it wasn't just that she was a drug addict but that she was also playing the roll of a drug addict.

Well, audiences love the fucked-up addict. People fawn over Keith Richards, not the baby he left to die of neglect. People buy John Daley and Paul Gascoigne and Pete Best drinks. Then they lash out at anyone who suggests their heroes might just be better off without their addictions.
posted by rodgerd at 1:09 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's what I get for hitting post before paying attention to preview, the majority of the post didn't make it. Glad someone picked it up.

She was an awesome, tormented talent. I'm so sorry she couldn't best her demons, and hope she's at peace.
posted by cyndigo at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2011


Layne Staley made it to 34. Somehow Seth Putnam made it to 43, even with the drug coma.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2011


The world is emptying.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:11 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maura Johnston has a thoughtful piece up at the Village Voice; it also links to a 2007 article in the Washington Post that blithely predicts that Winehouse would remain a star not only because of her music but because she was a perfect personality for gossip columns:
So how do you sell another old-school soul record these days? It helps to have a controversial "story." It also helps, in a way, to be known as a train wreck with talent.

"She's got a great voice; she's got great songs, she's already coming with a larger-than-life persona," says Bill Bragin, director of Joe's Pub, a 160-seat venue known for showcasing musicians with breakthrough potential. "She's got all the elements of a star. She's got the talent, but she's got something that gets her into Perez Hilton when she doesn't even have an album in the U.S. She's the real deal."
.
posted by lisa g at 1:15 PM on July 23, 2011


Very sad- so young and so talented.

.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:18 PM on July 23, 2011


I lost one of my best friends earlier this year to drug addiction... scratch that. I pretty much lost him several years earlier. There's nothing worse than seeing an incredibly intelligent, creative person slowly stop being those things. I'm sure there were people close to Winehouse who were thinking the same thing and, like me, didn't know what to do about it.
posted by brundlefly at 1:21 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


She had such a gorgeous voice and musical talent, and I loved her sense of style. I'm grateful for the music she shared with us and sad for the loss.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:23 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by thack3r at 1:25 PM on July 23, 2011


I also saw stuff on FB about "sorry, I can't care because 100+ people died in Norway" and I just...seriously, why is it an either/or proposition.

No doubt... In fact, I wonder why people can't see it as an "and"; all addicts makes their own choices and is ultimately responsible for them, but as somebody who did an awful lot of self-medicating because of personal problems but also because he felt the world around him was severely fucked up between 2003-2005, I understand it. Again, I and she are responsible for ourselves, but wars and massacres sometimes make the bad choices seem easier and the world more like something you want to escape.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:26 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw Amy Winehouse live at a jazz festival very early in her career. She was promoting Frank, and she must have been no more than nineteen. Of course, at that time, nobody had ever heard of her. My husband and I lucked into the gig and stayed for a few minutes, the way you do at a festival with a full program and big names on the bill.

It was obvious that there were problems even then. That she had a voice was evident, but she seemed intoxicated, or incapacitated by stage-fright, or both. She was incapable of facing the audience and presenting her material. We didn't stay long.

It was this poor first impression that put me off her artistry for a long time. Frank was a huge hit which I completely ignored, and then came the prurient tabloid tales of Amy the Camden Caner. I can't remember when and how I first heard Back to Black, but I came late to that party. When I finally got there, it was a revelation. The young woman I'd seen on stage took on a whole other dimension.

I sometimes wish I'd stayed longer at that first gig, and caught a glimpse of what she had to offer, but then I remember what it was like to watch a desperately vulnerable young woman caving in on stage, and feel compelled to look away. It was always the way with her - the visibility of fame felt like an unacceptable intrusion on a terrible personal tragedy.

I'm listening to Stronger than me right now. Thinking about that first gig, I don't know that this could have ended any other way. So long Amy. I hope you found some joy among all the pain of your too-short life.

.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 1:28 PM on July 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


I wrote her an audio open letter a few years ago

That song's been in our household playlist for a few years now. Thought of it today.
posted by EarBucket at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also saw stuff on FB about "sorry, I can't care because 100+ people died in Norway" and I just...seriously, why is it an either/or proposition.

As a kid, the first few times I had someone close to me die, I remember having this feeling that if I just wished hard enough, I could bring them back to life. It's the kind of childish belief that would never fall away due to the individual encountering evidence to the contrary, because you can always tell yourself you just didn't wish hard enough. I got past it quickly enough for logical reasons, but emotionally, I'm sure the desire for it to be true still lingers.

In this case, one would only have the mental power to put that kind of wishing towards one or the other. Maybe that's what's going on beneath the surface in people's minds. It's juvenile, but such is the global psyche.

As for my tidbit about Amy Winehouse, I never tried to get into her. The first I heard of her was during the hype surrounding Rehab. The marketing read something like: here is this incredibly sick woman who should be in rehab or somewhere secluded working to overcome her addiction, who is instead getting on stage singing about how she's not doing that, and then partying into the wee hours, and we love it!

I just couldn't be part of that. Getting fame and fortune on the back of Rehab was the last thing she needed.
posted by mantecol at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


So sad that her father didn't find out before it hit the British press.
posted by sweetkid at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


As for my tidbit about Amy Winehouse, I never tried to get into her. The first I heard of her was during the hype surrounding Rehab. The marketing read something like: here is this incredibly sick woman who should be in rehab or somewhere secluded working to overcome her addiction, who is instead getting on stage singing about how she's not doing that, and then partying into the wee hours, and we love it!

I admit, I felt super squicky about this as well.
posted by sweetkid at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


The first time I heard her voice, I was blown away--the person above who said Etta James was right on. Sad news to hear of her death--27 is shockingly young.

Count me among those who don't understand why sympathy for Amy Winehouse somehow detracts from mourning the people killed in Norway. Addiction is a slow and painful way to die; surely there isn't a finite supply of compassion in this world.

.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:42 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So sad that her father didn't find out before it hit the British press.

On the bright side, at least we can hope that perverse journalists & private investigators won't be hacking into her phone to hear who was calling her in the last few hours.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by rogueepicurean at 1:47 PM on July 23, 2011


2008: "Troubled singer Amy Winehouse is terrified she will join the "27 Club" - the tragic group of rock stars who died in their prime."
posted by iviken at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by caddis at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2011


Hopefully the US/European celebrity culture obsessed with exploiting her for her illness will now have the decency to give it a fucking rest.

Hahahahaha, good one. Cue images of Howard Hughes being photographed as he lies burnt, crushed and bloody on a Beverly Hills sidewalk after his famous xf-11 crash. The American and European celebrity culture has been thoroughly engrained in the national psyche since cameras were portable.

As if the paparazzi that hounded Princess Diana to her death and crowded her corpse to take snapshots are going to have a good soul search and hang up their spurs. How much do you think a photo of Winehouse's corpse will be worth? How much do you want to bet someone at the coroner will be bribed for a shot?
posted by WhitenoisE at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2011


How much do you think a photo of Winehouse's corpse will be worth? How much do you want to bet someone at the coroner will be bribed for a shot?

I'd best it's all considerably less with News International a bit distracted these days.
posted by hippybear at 2:03 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I told myself that if David Crosby could survive, Amy Winehouse could too.

I imagined her having to close her shows with "Rehab" at every concert she gave for the rest of her life.
posted by Trurl at 2:09 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh shit! Oh no! Tears spring to my eyes with sadness.

She was quintessentially skanky, the worst of Borderline Personality Disorder Pin Up Girl but heartbreakingly lovable in her pathos, her vulnerability, her incredible Voice. That voice, the phrasing, so urban, sophisticated and primitive simultaneously, the intonation, her timing, that husky woundedness.

My heart aches knowing she died. The world is less deliciously complex, less painfully beautiful without her.

My favorite performance of hers: Cupid. It's seductive, full of floozy girl saxophone honking, sibilant, vulgarly sexual and raw. Her clutching a pocket for the cocaine or whatever it was, jeans inching down her almost anorexic frame. And yet there is something triumphant in her humanity there too.

Gee, this leaves me bereft. The loss of the kids in the mass murder in Utoya and the terrorist blast in Oslo are overwhelming just now, my sadness is still philosophical. But Amy Winehouse's death has the tears flowing. Poor young woman. So wounded and in need.

I will miss her singing and miss not knowing that she found her way to recovery.

If she had a family or friends who were close to her, my loving condolences. May she rest in peace at last.
posted by nickyskye at 2:12 PM on July 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


.
posted by ahdeeda at 2:14 PM on July 23, 2011


how sad to watch someone slowly commit suicide, so publicly, so dramatically. and we all (particularly here in the UK) ate it up, like so much entertainment. that someone's intense struggles with addiction and personal demons were so often just fodder for the tabloids and soap opera gossip...

may she rest in peace.
posted by wayward vagabond at 2:17 PM on July 23, 2011


Sadder for being unsurprising. I really hoped to see her climb back out and get to experience her growth as an artist... rest in peace at last.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2011


My husband survived addiction. He is one of the lucky ones.

God bless her and her family.
posted by hockeyfan at 2:23 PM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by 404 Not Found at 2:37 PM on July 23, 2011


As read of boing boing's announcement "She was a talented artist with a disease, and a long line of enablers who depended on her".

I wonder who are the enablers?
posted by elpapacito at 2:44 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



2008: "Troubled singer Amy Winehouse is terrified she will join the "27 Club" - the tragic group of rock stars who died in their prime."


Yeah, I was wondering if maybe this was intentional on her part. After that infamous last show, maybe in her broken mind she was looking for a way out that would permanently frame her image as part of the club of tortured geniuses.
posted by WhitenoisE at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2011


I didn't follow her closely, but sadly thought that it was just an act. I was wrong. How terribly sad.
posted by Sreiny at 2:52 PM on July 23, 2011


I didn't follow her closely, but sadly thought that it was just an act. I was wrong. How terribly sad.

You weren't wrong. It was both genuine and part of a carefully constructed image at once. This is common in most good popular art.
posted by WhitenoisE at 3:06 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:07 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by humanfont at 3:11 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by MythMaker at 3:14 PM on July 23, 2011


I'm always a little mystified at how certain deaths seem to bring out the worst in public discussion -- the apparently irresistible urge to leap to make the first and worst Twitter joke, the satisfaction taken from defiantly proclaiming a complete lack of sympathy for someone whose body may literally not be cold yet
I think part of the answer may relate to:
In my experience, which is limited to knowing addicts, rather than being an addict myself, one of the most dangerous parts of addiction is its sense of itself as being cool. There is something awfully seductive about it -- many users I have known feel like they are part of a lawless, renegade underground, and don't see their addiction as a health issue, but a lifestyle choice, ideal for their rebellious, revolutionary personalities.
It is cool to have millions of people around the world sympathetically mourning your death; compared to the other 100,000+ little-remarked deaths each day that puts you at the 99.999th percentile of coolness. Maybe that's not a good thing, for a tragically unnecessary lifestyle and death that could either be avoided or emulated by others.
posted by roystgnr at 3:19 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Before
posted by Trurl at 3:26 PM on July 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


This type of news is never fun to hear, but it always hits a bit harder when the deceased was as talented a soul as Winehouse was.

I've mentioned my involvement with addiction on Metafilter a few times before, including quite recently over on the anniversary site, so I won't ramble out another personal anecdote. I've seen too many good people lose to their drugs, though. I came damn fucking close to being another statistic myself.

Tonight I'll play her music once more, loud so the neighbors know I'm mourning, then I'll talk to one of my good friends who's currently kicking dope at his parent's house in Lubbock. Tomorrow I'll continue to live a life full of gratitude and I'll carefully remember just why it is I'm thankful. I still shudder every time I hear of another dead addict, but all I can do is take from it all I can, a reminder of why I'm still here.
posted by item at 3:32 PM on July 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


.

Sad news.
posted by New England Cultist at 3:37 PM on July 23, 2011


sad. too young. 1983. damn.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:59 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


.

She was the Billie Holliday of our times.
posted by Renoroc at 4:01 PM on July 23, 2011


She was just added to the Club 27 article on wikipedia
posted by growabrain at 4:03 PM on July 23, 2011


Hopefully the US/European celebrity culture obsessed with exploiting her for her illness will now have the decency to give it a fucking rest.

I am not a keen follower of "celebrity culture" but I am attentive. Amy Winehouse hasn't been in the news here (US) for a while. Since Back to Black maybe ,,, 4 years now? That may be part of it--press coverage cuts both ways.


It is cool to have millions of people around the world sympathetically mourning your death; compared to the other 100,000+ little-remarked deaths each day that puts you at the 99.999th percentile of coolness.

I dunno. I don't mourn the loss of life any more I do the old woman down the block. Mourning the loss of the performer is part of it.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:06 PM on July 23, 2011


I haven't seen all of the video links posted (and those of unposted, probably equal-or-greater performances), but I can't get past the look of wariness (some may call it paranoia) on her face. My heart goes out to the people who knew her as a person, not as a celebrity, and to every person posting here who loves a person they're fighting to defend, if not save.
posted by datawrangler at 4:07 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of delerious and my air conditioner is broken and it's hot as fuck-- I wrote that three different rambling personal rants but have no coherant thoughts.

So just this:

Rest in peace Amy Winehouse.

PS-- liketitanic who is the sgserenity person and what did they say that was cruel? Fuck it drug addicts are free to be drug addicts their loved ones are free to try to save them in spite themselves. That's the problem with wanting everyone to be free to do whatever they want no matter how it hurts others. What you gonna do.
posted by xarnop at 4:07 PM on July 23, 2011


I don't really know much about her other than "Rehab" on the radio and a few second-hand lurid tales of her addictions. And yet this makes me very sad.

That someone could express one's self with such honesty, and at the same time be so, so hurtful to one's self... I don't know, I guess there's nothing contradictory about that, but I just... I don't know.

.

liketitanic, I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say.

sgt.serenity, wtf?
posted by DLWM at 4:11 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed. Do not be a dick to other community members like that.]
posted by cortex at 4:14 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


ugh, i know it's to be expected but i'm kinda grossed out that the iTunes store has a "Remembering Amy Winehouse" banner thing already.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:27 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Overall, I'm actually pretty impressed with the tone of the comments here. Good work mefi (or perhaps just the mods?)!

On a lot of sites like Facebook/in comment sections I'm seeing an overwhelming amount of people simply going, "Meh," or, "Yep, pretty much expected."

I was never really a fan of her music, but it's definitely tragic to see someone pass away so young. Especially someone who pretty clearly had some serious mental health issues, for which she compensated with drugs and alcohol. It's always tragic to see someone battle with addiction and lose.
posted by redspraypaint at 4:38 PM on July 23, 2011


Count me as actually being surprised. She was such a scrappy, tough fightin' little mofo...I thought she'd eventually turn a corner and get comfortable with herself. She had a lot of reason to.

.
posted by snsranch at 4:38 PM on July 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Was checking iTunes store and came here to check for a post. Words fail me. I am too old to see so many young people leaving this astral plane...........

:(
'
'
posted by bjgeiger at 4:38 PM on July 23, 2011


neuromodulator: I wonder how many obit banners they have at the ready.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:39 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 4:40 PM on July 23, 2011


I'm listening to her music as I read this thread, and the lyrics from "You Know I'm No Good" are almost impossible to listen to today:

I cheated myself like I knew I would
I told ya I was troubled
Ya know that I'm no good


That last line is so wrong, and the first two far too accurate. Rest in peace, Amy.
posted by orange swan at 4:43 PM on July 23, 2011


Oddly, I find what comes to mind is her appearance on Never Mind the Buzzcocks (it ought to go to 3:21). After I saw that I liked her a lot more, but was very glad I didn't have to live or work with her.
posted by Grangousier at 4:51 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sadly, Winehouse joins a list of noteworthy musicians who died at age 27, including Brian Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain

great fact pointed out by Mike Mongo. I had no idea that all those other musicians died at the same age. Here's a link to the Forever 27 club (hat tip to Mike Mongo!)
posted by KillaSeal at 4:52 PM on July 23, 2011


(That came out a lot meaner than I intended it to, sorry!)
posted by Grangousier at 5:08 PM on July 23, 2011


ok I'm gonna fess up here. I've never heard/listened to a single Amy Winehouse song before this very moment.

she's...wow, a lot different than I was expecting and very very impressive. Love is A Losing Game could have been an early Bond film theme song...

not that I didn't already consider her early, untimely death a terrible thing but wow...I didn't know.

I reject the idea that suffering can help create (is necessary to create) profound art but she tapped in to her own with amazing skill....RIP indeed.
posted by supermedusa at 5:09 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Nick Drake above all other musicians. He put out only three albums in his life, but since his death nearly 30 years ago a score of albums have been put out posthumously. In the last five years I can think of two, mostly remastered recordings of demos.

I wonder if Amy is going to get the same treatment.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:10 PM on July 23, 2011


She had a nice set of pipes, "Rehab" (despite all that's happened) was a great song, and it was frankly nice to hear somebody doing staright up old school pre-disco R&B again. Sadly, she went from being a singer to being a 'celebrity' based on her problems and a stupid culture that views such problems as soap-opera style entertainment.

RIP.
posted by jonmc at 5:18 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Until the inevitable official live album, I endorse her La Live de la Semaine performance on July 15, 2007. The Back To Black songs are still relatively fresh for her, she's in strong voice, and since it was recorded for TV, the sound is studio perfect.
posted by Trurl at 5:47 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The notion that her suffering in this area of life was a necessary component of her profound art and creativity is a disgusting myth propagated by idiots, and the people that propped her up on tours despite the fact that she was battling severe alcoholism and addiction should be thrown in jail or be forced to pay restitution for squandering this woman's life. In this day, with the number of widely accepted options for treatment, and the number of handlers these celebrities have, her death is a goddamn travesty that stands out more than Billie Holliday's. 27 years old, and this woman had fame and fortune, and couldn't get help. Dancing around like a crackhead on stage in Serbia. Unbelievable.

But at the end of the day each person is responsible for their own actions, and the bill is certainly hers to pay. And I guess this is far from the first time something like this has happened. Marvin Gaye in his later years, for some reason, comes to mind. Hell, I was on a European tour of an American R&B artist a few years back and let's just say I saw some "interesting" things, and heard some even more interesting stories about really famous people doing crazy things. Gosh it's tempting to get more specific but I can't.

I am so sorry I made fun of this poor little girl while she was alive. Especially after hearing that she might have been incapacitated by stage-fright at a very young age, per above. I am shocked by how young she was. She never looked or sounded her age as far back as I've known her.
posted by phaedon at 5:51 PM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Decani, I couldn't agree less. Amy Winehouse appeared to be truly gifted, and, of course, deeply addicted. Her songwriting and delivery were often superb. That said, she probably would have been much better off having never been discovered.
I'd say corporate music greed killed her, honestly. The need to get a high quarterly ROI apparently meant more than keeping her in rehab and showing the care and patience required to help her get better before putting her back on stage, over and over again. I'm mad about it for the same reasons I'm mad about the current News of the World scandal, or for that matter, the budget standoff in Congress. Flat-headed, short-sighted greed appear to run the world these days. And Winehouse was just one of the many victims.
posted by pomegranate at 5:53 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


the internet has taken all of the life out of birth and death. we don't have to wait much anymore to see people's births. there are always pictures immediately of babies covered in that weird birth baby cheese stuff. i just saw pictures of amy winehouse's body being carried out of her flat. yesterday i saw blood soaked norwegians, shortly after the attacks. i saw a video of people drowning during a flash flood in india last week. i really feel like nothing is sacred anymore.
posted by thistle at 5:54 PM on July 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Not surprising but still a shock.
.
posted by Glinn at 5:59 PM on July 23, 2011


The Wikipedia article on Back To Black has already been updated to identify it as her "second and final studio album".

Fuck.
posted by Trurl at 6:11 PM on July 23, 2011


I liked Amy Winehouse. Her singing was just astonishing. I now regret following all the accounts of her personal issues. I'm so very sorry that she is now gone. I hope she can now find some peace.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:12 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by meinvt at 6:17 PM on July 23, 2011


.
Too fast to live, too young to die.
posted by Mittenz at 6:19 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by chance at 6:52 PM on July 23, 2011


Very sad but not a shock. What a waste.

.
posted by arha at 6:53 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by drezdn at 7:04 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by troll at 7:09 PM on July 23, 2011


Truly awful. I have to write about this soon so I can't say much here but I do want to chime in to say that people who are focusing on her "enablers" or "no no no to rehab" are, in my view, misguided.

Most rehabs still don't use evidence based techniques even in the U.K. Many of the "best" rehabs in the world— like the Priory where she apparently went and Betty Ford, for example— still take the "12 step programs are the one true way and if you don't like that, you're the problem," approach. They often aren't especially good at helping with co-existing mental illness or personality disorders. They definitely have nothing to offer people who aren't ready for abstinence.

And if someone isn't ready for abstinence, all the coercion in the world isn't going to help. In fact, coercion is exactly what produces attitudes like the one she had towards rehab. She may not have failed treatment— treatment may have failed her.
posted by Maias at 7:11 PM on July 23, 2011 [24 favorites]


Winehouse was always one of those singers I kept meaning to check out so circumstances being what they are I finally listened to Back to Black today.

That is some damn fine music. It's a shame. Fucking drugs.
posted by Bonzai at 7:13 PM on July 23, 2011


For a long time I held a little glimmer of hope that she'd finally pull it all together -- that one day her talent would be matched by her survival instinct so that she could find a way to love herself into the light rather than loathe herself further and further into the darkness.

Sad, sad story. What a shame.
posted by scody at 7:14 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


.
posted by ialwayscryatendings at 7:15 PM on July 23, 2011


As I've said elsewhere:

I was only aware of her very tangentially, mostly through references to "do you know what she did THIS time?", including pictures of her wasting away from drugs.

I gotta say, the abrupt shift in tone is pretty startling. It went from "that stupid idiot, let's sneer at her again" to "oh my god, we lost a giant talent, what an awful thing."

Well, why the heck didn't people take that tack a little sooner, you know? Fat lot of good it does now.
posted by Malor at 7:18 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


there was a whole lot of soul inside that little bitty white girl.

damn.
posted by elizardbits at 7:45 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


As far as I was aware, among reasonable people the line on her was always "she has a hell of a voice and it's terrible that she also has addictions (etc) that are leading her down a self-destructive path, and people/the media shouldn't be gawking".
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:46 PM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Plenty of us were taking up for her talent (here and elsewhere) all along, thank you. Doesn't make her death any less tragic. It's just horrible.

.
posted by raysmj at 7:47 PM on July 23, 2011


I'll admit that my most played song by her was "Addicted", which is a cheeky little number about how she's sick of her friend's boyfriend smoking all of her weed. Granted it wasn't weed that killed her, but it sounds a bit different listening to it today. She wrote heart wrenching songs full of self-loathing, but she also had some fun/sassy/clever numbers like that or Me and Mr Jones. Or Fuck Me Pumps--a song about trashy girls that isn't *totally* dismissive and basically says going out wouldn't be as fun without them.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2011


What a voice. Hope her soul has found peace. For a long time now, I really hoped it wouldn't end this way.
posted by elphTeq at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2011


Dreadful. I'd heard her name. I looked at some of the first videos linked here and couldn't figure out why anyone would care about her, but then I listened to Trurl's link to an unmarketed version of Love is a Losing Game and got it.

Poor Amy Winehouse had more demons than the music industry, but the space it provided for her to express herself was almost killing enough by itself. What a depressing, killing airport line contemporary pop music is. Compare how much unforgettable music Janis Joplin recorded before she died. The whole music industry should go to jail for destroying this poor soul.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 8:20 PM on July 23, 2011


Amy Winehouse was a tragedy in the Greek sense: The one single thing that the hero cannot change about themself is the one thing that will destroy them.

The hero climbs to Olmypian heights, but all the while they’re marching towards an end that is unavoidable, not because the gods decree it, but because their character doesn’t allow for any other path to be taken.

And the audience sits back and watches the process from start to inexorable end.

.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:23 PM on July 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Maybe best to remember the voice, the presence, the things she could control. Remember how she looked in better days, like at Glastonbury in 2008.
posted by scruss at 8:24 PM on July 23, 2011


I did not know she wrote so much of that amazing music! That song "Tears Dry on Their Own" is fucking awesome. I thought Amy was so cool, even through her obvious suffering. I really wish this hadn't happened.
posted by theredpen at 8:44 PM on July 23, 2011


.
Such a voice! Such soul! A beckon in these modern times. She will be missed.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:50 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by mudlark at 8:51 PM on July 23, 2011


Tony's one of the good ones too.
posted by mazola at 9:01 PM on July 23, 2011


People fawn over Keith Richards, not the baby he left to die of neglect.

What now?
posted by bq at 9:07 PM on July 23, 2011


If we as a culture didn't moralize drug use, we would have seen Amy Winehouse as the victim of a debilitating illness instead of just the butt of many jokes. I enjoyed her music because she understood the 60s and 70s soul and Motown that I love so much, while adding her own unique flavor. RIP Amy Winehouse, may we all learn something from this.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:11 PM on July 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


She told us she was hardcore.
posted by flabdablet at 9:11 PM on July 23, 2011


Mini bio in vid form: Amy Winehouse Found Dead At Home
posted by nickyskye at 9:16 PM on July 23, 2011


If anyone who'd previously never really heard any of her music and has gotten this far through this thread and still not listened to the stuff posted, you gotta listen to these two songs:

You Know I'm No Good

Back to Black

She really was really really good. I am a female vocalist connoisseur, although I'm sure saying that makes me sound pretentious and silly, so I apologize for that. But I am super freaking picky. I can't imagine anyone else infusing the words of the chorus of "You Know I'm No Good" with so much complexity, just the little sneaky twists she puts on the words and how she seems to be both smirking and seething inwardly as she sings those lines. I found her fascinating to listen to, and it was so disappointing to see her decline. Back to Black is a really incredible album that I listened to so many times without ever tiring of it, since there was so much to latch onto.

And also... Me and Mr. Jones. fuckery..
posted by wondermouse at 9:20 PM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


For a while it seemed like there was a morbid curiosity contest running in the media between Peter Doherty and Amy Winehouse. Plus the British tabloids are truly brutal about this kind of thing and circle around characters like that like vultures. It's tragic, but stuff like this happens all the time to ordinary people and you never hear their stories. Having problems like that and an artistic career that peaks early is a difficult tightrope and is not exactly a recipe for the best outcome.

I'm not simply being callous here. I've lived through it and have lost friends and family members to it. It's always sad when some young shooting star burns out this quickly, and losing people you know and love to addiction is horribly painful. However, I've come to believe that the worse outcome is when someone slips into their addiction when they're much older. Life tends to be more complicated with more commitments, and in my experience denial can run much deeper on both ends. I've lived through a lot of that kind of thing. People who seemed to totally have it together totally did not, apparently ... In this case her problem was known for a long time, indeed sort of became part of her public persona. I'm sad this happened but not all that surprised. At least she had the chance to leave us with something worthwhile to remember her. Unfortunately, she's far from the first, and she will not be the last artist to leave us this way.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:26 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, how her songs could break my heart. I was really hoping a brighter day was just around the corner for her.
posted by vespertine at 9:47 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate to admit this, but the self-destruction and drug use were almost part of her appeal. I don't apprecaite much modern music, and the Duffys and Adeles and her other imitators just seemed fake and contrived. The rock and soul and jazz stars of old were part shaman, living on the border of life and death and bringing back what they learned. Amy Winehouse harked back to that tradition - her pain wasn't just an act, wasn't just some ill-concieved strive at fake authenticity. It was real, and though it killed her I think its part of why she was appreciated. I produced a radio show along with an ancient jazz/soul DJ, and he'd always play Amy Winehouse. The old rock and rollers seemed to appreciate her, too (though I was at a rock night last night and nobody seemed to know about her death).

I'm not saying we, her fans, killed her, but I'd be lying if I didn't say her drug use and self-destruction gave her a bit more authority than more squeaky-clean singers.

Like the Stones said,

If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on the stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust?
Would it help ease your pain?

posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:53 PM on July 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


.
posted by danielcoda at 10:14 PM on July 23, 2011


People buy John Daley and Paul Gascoigne and Pete Best drinks. Then they lash out at anyone who suggests their heroes might just be better off without their addictions.

Pete Best? Did he have an addiction problem?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:16 PM on July 23, 2011


Perhaps they meant the late George Best.
posted by Flashman at 10:22 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


She'll become number 35 in this big graphic of the 27 Club.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:35 PM on July 23, 2011


I don't know if Robert Johnson really belongs on that list--he didn't die of a drug habit, he was murdered.

I really don't mean for this to create a derail, but I'd argue that Kurt Cobain was as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:23 PM on July 23, 2011


.
posted by nile_red at 1:26 AM on July 24, 2011


Pete Best? Did he have an addiction problem?

No, he quit before things got too big.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:41 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does this make anyone else sad? I've had a feeling for a while that if she doesn't get the right kind of help she's going to kill herself. I get no pleasure watching someone self-destruct so dramatically with paparazzi cameras documenting every painful moment, and every other blog and message board laughing at how horrible she looks.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:25 AM on June 23, 2008



*

This is what I woke up to today - "Amy Winehouse is dead."


And it still makes me sad. I love her music.

Though oddly enough, the first song I thought of was not hers, but Fred Eaglesmith's:

Fame don't take away the pain
It just pays the bills...

posted by louche mustachio at 1:44 AM on July 24, 2011


I hadn't heard much about her recently, so was hoping she was getting clean or at least not partying as heavily.

Struck by what a funny euphemism 'partying' is. When you're as messed up as Amy was, it really doesn't feel like a party any more.

Most rehabs still don't use evidence based techniques even in the U.K. Many of the "best" rehabs in the world— like the Priory where she apparently went and Betty Ford, for example— still take the "12 step programs are the one true way and if you don't like that, you're the problem," approach. They often aren't especially good at helping with co-existing mental illness or personality disorders. They definitely have nothing to offer people who aren't ready for abstinence.

Actually, this isn't true of The Priory. If you can afford their fees, you can also afford to see one of the consultant psychiatrists that they have on staff, who'll do maintenance prescribing -- at least for a period.

And I'm pretty sure that at least one of them (don't know if he still works there, but he definitely did) has a diamorphine license. You certainly used to be able to get a period of stabilization on pharmaceutical heroin prior to in-patient treatment if your wallet was fat enough.

As a recent episode of detox and/or abstinence is one of the high risk factors for overdose. If you really aren't ready for it, saying 'No, no, no' to rehab is probably a pretty good idea.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:42 AM on July 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never got into her music at all, but of course that didn't mean I was unaware of her or her epic struggles.

Oddly, a few days ago I saw a recent photo of her looking much healthier, like her old self, and I thought: "Good for her, she's finally getting her life back on track."

And then the news headline.
posted by bwg at 4:42 AM on July 24, 2011


I only knew about her peripherally, from seeing her picture and the headlines about her troubles. So, thank you to everyone for the links. Sad this was the way I finally got around to appreciating her songwriting talent and soulful voice.

liketitanic --- big hug to you! You are brave and beautiful for sharing your perspective and giving personal and human dimension to a big appalling media feeding frenzy story.

.
posted by quietalittlewild at 5:24 AM on July 24, 2011


A surprising post on Russell Brand's blog:
I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.

Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began.
(If Brand's site is down, the article is temporarily mirrored here.)
posted by humph at 6:27 AM on July 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine another person under 30 from whom major news sources had a pre-written obituary ready. What a waste.
posted by Adam_S at 6:36 AM on July 24, 2011


Overall, I'm actually pretty impressed with the tone of the comments here. Good work mefi (or perhaps just the mods?)!

On a lot of sites like Facebook/in comment sections I'm seeing an overwhelming amount of people simply going, "Meh," or, "Yep, pretty much expected."


Strange to compare this to how badly the recent Jackass obit thread went. Maybe its because her fans felt she could share some of her pain through her music, and thus understand it?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:46 AM on July 24, 2011


I think people were angry that Ryan Dunn killed his passenger, and could have easily killed and injured others... so a different situation altogether.
posted by taz at 7:04 AM on July 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw Amy Winehouse very early on, just as Frank came out, at the Shepherds Bush Empire. I booked late, which meant being seated upstairs. Next to me was the private box.

Her whole family were in there - dad, mum cousins, 20 or so of them in total. Proud as you like. She sung with a naiveté and freshness which was charming. A young girl from North London who was loving the limelight. That voice. That swagger. A sense of humour. We forget that when she made it, a whole bunch of other talented female singers of roughly the same age were being heavily promoted too. She shone through.

What struck me quickly soon after that was how much weight she lost. I assumed it was a reaction to jibes about her weight from somewhere. But as the trainwreck commenced in slow motion, the stories of her drunkenness and temperamental outbursts stacked up. At one point the press needed only to sit outside one or two pubs in Camden and wait for her to fall out and make a dick of herself for everyone else's amusement.

She was amusing then. Sort of. They called her Wino. Our Amy liked a drink or two and didn't care who knew. She was good value for the tabloids and could still come out with a decent quip. Still on the up and about to do the hardest thing in music: the killer second album. Back to Black was coming out and the old Amy who retained a keen sense of humour about who she was, where she came from and what a circus it all was could still be seen in snatches. Rehab had a vibe to it that, despite the obvious nature of the song's lyrics, could still be read with a strong dose of irony.

But for the last five years, that Amy has been long gone, replaced by a tragic, rich, lonely, woman who, despite the care and attention of her family, served one master. I feel really sorry for her. She was a talent, unquestionably. But for at least five years she has taken the same journey lots of drug addicts have. One of cutting out the people who care and replacing them with the ones who will put up with the violence, the mood swings, the lies, the broken promises and the other paraphernalia that come with a full blown addiction. The only difference between her and the others is she had talent. And didn't have to resort to selling the furniture or stealing to fund herself.

I liked Back to Black, but I found it hard to love because I couldn't get rid of the image of the rake thin, dead-pool-in-waiting figure she had become. I'd still like the songs when they came on but not for long. Rehab has long looked like her epitaph. But still the sense that, one day, she might pull on the controls and avoid hitting the ground. Reclaim Rehab as a pub singalong of a girl who knew best but didn't really.

Her dad will have found out about her death either in-flight or as he touched down in New York. It's a mini tragedy within a tragedy. I didn't know Amy Winehouse. I don't feel like I know Amy Winehouse. But it's bloody sad. I don't believe in an afterlife so I don't think she is at peace, or with her maker, or jamming at the Pearly Gates with Jim Morrison and Brian Jones. But I hope her family find some peace, and can draw some comfort in her short life that despite her demons achieved a lot and touched a lot of people.

.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:39 AM on July 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


Another person under 30 that media have an obit for is Lindsay Lohan. Not same situation, but same sense that she can't/won't stop doing things to excess, whatever those things are.
posted by GaelFC at 7:54 AM on July 24, 2011


It occurs that this is the first celebrity tragedy since the cautery of the News of the World. If anyone has sight of the British papers, it would be interesting to see if the message they have taken from recent events is "don't be creepy" or "don't cost your owner control of Britain's biggest satellite TV operation".

Such a shame, this.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:47 AM on July 24, 2011


You know, I've never understood the whole "don't speak ill of the dead" mentality. Wait, why? If you've got shit to say about someone, wouldn't it be better to say it when you can't hurt them anymore? All this penitential reverence by big media is gross after years of sneering at her. I didn't know her at all, but did enjoy her music quite a bit. So,

.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 8:54 AM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by AloneOssifer at 9:02 AM on July 24, 2011


It's all speculation at this point, but reading about how Winehouse had looked better or more healthy recently, I can't help but think she may have, as we call it around our house, "pulled a Janis Joplin" since Joplin had supposedly been clean for six months but upon relapsing, tried to use the same amount she'd been using when she quit, and since she'd lost her tolerance, she immediately overdosed. Again, only speculation, probably something we'll never know or any of our business, except to say "Don't do this!" and to be frustrated that the current war on drugs prevents almost any kind of harm reduction techniques.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I've never understood the whole "don't speak ill of the dead" mentality.

It is an artifact of magic and prehistory. They are now spirits. They have agency. They may hear you and get angry.

Condolences to her family. They are surely in terrible pain.
posted by bukvich at 9:15 AM on July 24, 2011


I've always been nuts about F(uck) Me Pumps - from that astonishing first album - its brilliant, so sweetly catty, lyrics, plus Amy's knock out kooky beauty way back then.

I'd just never really noticed how the video ended (in the OP's "some of Amy's great songs & moments" links).



In the last 20 seconds, Amy kicks off her eff-me pumps in the street, drops her microphone beside them with a delicate finality, then quickly walks out of shot in her bare feet. The camera lingers on the empty, tipped-over shoes & the abandoned mike lying in the gutter. Then the screen goes black.

.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:44 AM on July 24, 2011


Terrible. I had hoped she'd pull it all together and find happiness.
posted by frenetic at 9:51 AM on July 24, 2011


.
posted by 4ster at 11:03 AM on July 24, 2011


here's what I wound up writing.
posted by Maias at 2:18 PM on July 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


Thanks for that, Maias.
posted by torticat at 2:37 PM on July 24, 2011


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posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:49 PM on July 24, 2011


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posted by bebrave! at 2:53 PM on July 24, 2011


> I've never understood the whole "don't speak ill of the dead" mentality.

It is an artifact of magic and prehistory. They are now spirits. They have agency. They may hear you and get angry.


I thought it was partly out of respect to the people the dead leave behind. They've got family and friends and fans who are still grieving. Especially in the Internet age, when this sort of thing can easily hurt the people affected.
It's also a recognition of our common humanity, and the fate that awaits us all.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:35 PM on July 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Lovecraft, I didn't mean that it's necessarily a good thing to speak ill of the dead. However, I'm suggesting that one weird artifact of this idea is that we bully people while they're alive, and put on penitent, grieving false faces when they've died.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 3:51 PM on July 24, 2011


(If Brand's site is down, the article is temporarily mirrored here.)

The Guardian has it too: Russell Brand on Amy Winehouse

.
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There probably can't be anything worse than a parent seeing their child destroy themselves to death over and over until they die.
posted by stormpooper at 5:00 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.

Sad, but not unexpected. After her Belgrade performance I knew something like this would happen.
posted by mike3k at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2011


I thought it was partly out of respect to the people the dead leave behind. They've got family and friends and fans who are still grieving. Especially in the Internet age, when this sort of thing can easily hurt the people affected.
It's also a recognition of our common humanity, and the fate that awaits us all.


Plus, the fact that the person can no longer defend themselves against their accusers; neither by words nor actions.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:46 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Guardian has it too: Russell Brand on Amy Winehouse

Sorry, but I can't resist.

Metafilter: peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:45 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, it would be great if people stopped linking to that Belgrade gig.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:50 AM on July 25, 2011


A lot of rock stars die at 27 years old. A lot of them die at 26 or 28. Or 52, when their livers give out.

It wouldn't be surprising if there's a slight spike at around 27--when they're old enough to have had big success, big money, big addictions, big groups of enabling hangers on, big failure, and lots of flights and road trips in bad conditions under the pressure of tight schedules--but that doesn't mean there are stars or planets influencing this stuff.
posted by pracowity at 1:56 AM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]




Best opening line ever:

It would be terribly remiss of me not to blog about the untimely death of the 27 year-old British singer Amy Winehouse today.

Yes. Terribly remiss. One has a duty to one's public, you know.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:49 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would be terribly remiss of me not to blog about

all topics that match the most popular current searches.
posted by pracowity at 4:09 AM on July 25, 2011


omg, running order squabble fest, that's one of the silliest, most ham-handed blog posts I've ever seen... and that's saying a lot, if you consider that I have the Greasemonkey script that lets me see every deleted post from every would-be self linker on MeFi.
posted by taz at 5:11 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


wow. that HuffPo thing is appalling. I hate that I gave it a pageview.
posted by sweetkid at 7:18 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine another person under 30 from whom major news sources had a pre-written obituary ready. What a waste.

If you're famous enough, they have them - in case you die from drugs, or an accident, or an assassin. When I worked in subtitling I used to like looking through the BBC files - interesting to see who they feel is important enough to have the obit ready to go. Every member of the Royal Family has one, as do major actors/popstars, not just those likely to be about to die any time soon.

Anyway. More innocent times.em>
posted by mippy at 8:25 AM on July 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


Oh, man. From the Huffington Post: "Amy Winehouse's untimely death is a wake-up call for Small Business Owners".

After killing the political blog market, HuffingtonPost takes on The Onion.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:28 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't believe in an afterlife so I don't think she is at peace, or with her maker, or jamming at the Pearly Gates with Jim Morrison and Brian Jones. But I hope her family find some peace, and can draw some comfort in her short life that despite her demons achieved a lot and touched a lot of people.

i find it strange how often atheists talk about demons.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:01 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Maias, for the link and your article.

I, too thought of the Buzzcocks episode Grangousier linked. For me there was a moment of shock on the "She's dead" line each time I saw it (twice). Such a contrast between the sad truth in the statement and the humor that belied it.

.
posted by jaruwaan at 9:47 AM on July 25, 2011


Demons are a useful metaphor.

Isn't that why religious people are always talking about 'em?
posted by box at 9:47 AM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


.
posted by jlbartosa at 11:04 AM on July 25, 2011


Wow...that link to the Wayback Machine that mippy posted above is just plain spooky.
posted by foonly at 11:13 AM on July 25, 2011


.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:19 PM on July 25, 2011


Remember, the latest possible age one can go out in a blaze of glory at is 27. At 28, you're just another dead dude.
posted by tehloki at 12:49 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


that link to the Wayback Machine

bunnycaress??? d'aw.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:17 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You'll never trot alone.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:30 AM on July 26, 2011


Whoa, mippy! The entire archive of her yahoo group is public and available, and now I feel like a total creeper for having browsed through it for the last few minutes. But some of the messages she posted are so eerie in retrospect... like this one, from May 3, 2001:

ducks...

I can't say I'm not talented - to be honest, I've spent a year havin an a&r guy gettting me producers and gigs etc that I've just started to believe in myself. I never used to. A lot of the reason I'm vocal about my talent is that 1/it's hard to believe I've come so far (jewish girls from North London are usually resigned to a lifetime of shopping expeditions) and 2/because I'll have an album ready by September for record companies. And I'm so excited, you
wouldn't believe. For someone like me - who dropped out of and was expelled from many secondary schools because of a lack of authority - it basically means I don't ever have to conform. I can set standards as a solo artist. You might say I've cheated my way into the industry by not working hard and getting good exam results, but I wasn't willing to compromise at school to
get those results.

Sorry bout the tangent there peeps. I felt a bit sentimental.

My club used to be such a nice place <sniffs>.

Bx

benny - dont take me so seriously, for christ's sake.

posted by artemisia at 4:28 PM on July 26, 2011


Oh, man. From the Huffington Post: "Amy Winehouse's untimely death is a wake-up call for Small Business Owners".

After killing the political blog market, HuffingtonPost takes on The Onion.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:28 AM on July 25 [2 favorites +] [!]
There's a good opinion piece in the Guardian today by Hadley Freeman -
Amy Winehouse's death was badly reported: There's a way to report celebrity deaths – and the way the media reported Amy Winehouse's death wasn't right
posted by humph at 5:07 AM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]




.
posted by zia at 11:19 PM on July 27, 2011




Gotta admit, that 2007 docu had me slightly cringing when all the music reviewers etc were oohing and aahing of her stance expressed in "Rehab". It was came across as all cool and edgy, all very you go girl, show 'em how you're gonna do it on your terms. 21st Century feminist, represent!

It all rings a little off key now that she's drunk and drugged herself to death in her 20s.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:52 PM on July 28, 2011






Every time I come back to this thread, I want to weep for the senseless loss of an amazing talent.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:49 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every time I come back to this thread, I want to weep for the senseless loss of an amazing talent.
Senseless is a four year old being hit by a drunk driver. Amy did this to herself. There's nothing senseless about it. In fact, for years it's been pretty damn inevitable.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:20 PM on July 31, 2011


Amy did this to herself

That's the part that most people have trouble making sense of. Inevitability is orthogonal to senselessness.
posted by flabdablet at 5:23 PM on July 31, 2011


Senseless is a four year old being hit by a drunk driver.

Also senseless is a person driving drunk and hitting a four year old.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:38 PM on July 31, 2011


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