The first time I heard Amy Winehouse was on the radio. “Rehab” was playing and I thought, “Wow, who is this sassy number?” I finally saw the film clip for “Rehab” and was considerably surprised to see a skinny white lady with a gravity-defying beehive, sporting a winged eye-liner out of this world. I honestly expected to see a Motown diva with a long gown and an afro. It was then that I fell in love with Amy.
She was the impossible diva. Who knew that so much could come from such a tiny frame? She was magic. I was obsessed. I devoured every song I could get my grubby little hands on and was fixated on the absolute talent that she was was.
It’s a pity that she’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons. I mean, let’s face it, she was a crazy crackhead. But her music. My god, her music…
Her melodies, the arrangement of her songs…her vocal ability to turn the word “fuckery” into a beautiful lyric in “Me and Mr. Jones”. I sing that song all the time and won’t realise I’m cussing. Purely because that line is said with so much emotion, subtly hidden behind the ringing of the trumpets and that super tasty bass line. Mmmm yummy yummy!
My favourite Amy song is “I Heard Love is Blind”. The best version I found on the interwebs is during her performance at an unknown club in 2003. Scroll down for the original video.
It’s just Amy on a dark stage, with an acoustic guitar, having fun with the song. A few amazing vocal licks, strumming in between the lyrics and kicking ass. This was the pre-beehive years. And she looked pretty healthy so I’m assuming that this was also the pre “I-love-Pete-Doherty-and-ellicit-drugs” years.
The song itself, is pretty damn dirty. To summarise how lewd this song is, it’s basically about a woman who is so wasted that she mistaken sleeps with a dude that looks a lot like her boyfie. We’ve all been guilty of that…right? I’m joking. I have never done that. Nor I will I ever do that. Although the jury is still out on that one…I still haven’t written off “professional bar-fly” as a future career. And by the way my love life is going right now, it’s either that or cat lady…
I love how twisted this song is. The absolutely crassness of the lyrics, softly resting on those summery bar chords…it’s just inane. The basic story she’s telling, juxtaposed with the gentleness of her guitar playing is, well, magic.
It’s probably really presumptuous of me to say this, but she was it. I doubt there will be another Amy in my lifetime. I mean, Adele is good and whatever, but Amy was a crooner. She was a unicorn. The impossible diva. I can picture her up in heaven having some dranks with Jeff Buckley and saying, “Have you ever used the word ‘fuckery’ in one of your songs and made it so subtle that they can play in cafes without anyone noticing? Didn’t think so, mate.”
So, here is my butchered version of my favourite Amy Winehouse song.
Peace out. Say no to drugs. And Pete Doherty. But The Libertines were pretty good I guess. Ok, so say no to Pete Doherty, but The Libertines are alright…in moderation. But not drugs. Drugs are always bad.
Margie “Wino-forever” Dela Cruz
Live Acoustic – 2003