In this edition of our London Flashback photo series, we take an intimate glimpse back into the short and controversial life of Amy Winehouse – London’s most famous daughter.
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was a British singer and songwriter known for her deep expressive contralto vocals.
Winehouse’s debut album, Frank (2003), was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her follow-up album, Back to Black (2006), led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made her the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the general field “Big Four” awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Winehouse’s battles with substance abuse were the subject of much media attention. In 2005, she went through a period of drinking, heavy drug use, and weight loss.
People who saw her during the end of that year and early 2006 reported a rebound that coincided with the writing of Back to Black. Her family believes that the mid-2006 death of her grandmother, who was a stabilising influence, set her off into addiction.
Vocal Talent of Her Generation
Winehouse told a magazine that the drugs were to blame for her hospitalisation and that “I really thought that it was over for me then.”
British singer and songwriter Lily Allen was quoted to have said – “I know Amy Winehouse very well. And she is very different to what people portray her as being. Yes, she does get out of her mind on drugs sometimes, but she is also a very clever, intelligent, witty, funny person who can hold it together. You just don’t see that side.”
Amy sadly died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011, aged 27. Her album Back to Black posthumously became, for a time, the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century; with the BBC has calling her “the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation.”