Amy Winehouse, Remembered

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A Look Back at a Singer’s Incredible Life and Career

On the tenth anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death, take a look back at the young star’s life that burned brightly and was extinguished far too soon.

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Amy Winehouse Remembered

July 23, 2021, marks ten years since the tragic passing of Amy Winehouse. After first appearing on the scene in the early 2000s, Amy experienced her breakthrough in 2006 with the critically and commercially successful album, Back In Black. Fueled by the massively successful hit “Rehab” – as well as “You Know I’m No Good” and “Back To Black,” hits in both her native England and in America – Amy was suddenly thrust to the top of the music world. Back In Black won the Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist in 2007, and at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, she took home five Grammys – including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.


The singer, with her raven black hair and strong command of blue-eyed soul/neo-soul, seemed like she was going to be the next big music sensation. Sadly, those hopes were dashed in 2011, when she died from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27. One decade after her death, look at Amy’s journey and remember her not for how she died, but how she lived and the joy she brought others through her music.

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Amy Winehouse, Age 2

Amy Jade Winehouse was born on Sept. 14, 1983. Amy, pictured here at age 2, grew up in London’s Southgate area. Many of Amy’s family members were professional jazz musicians, helping her to develop a love for the music – as well as old rhythm-and-blues, and soul.

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Amy Winehouse, Age 5

Amy, seen here at age 5, attended the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School. Though she showed promise as a dancer at a young age, her singing talents bloomed when she was a teenager. By age 16, she was a singer with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

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Amy Winehouse, Remembered

As a youth, Amy was drawn to American R&B/hip-hop acts, including TLC and Salt-N-Pepa. She founded a short-lived rap group called Sweet 'n' Sour, but her real calling was jazz and soul. At age 14, she bought her first guitar.

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Amy Winehouse in 2004

Amy began writing music as a teen. Her big break came when her close friend, pop singer Tyler James, passed her demo tape to his label, A&R, who was looking for a jazz vocalist. She signed with Island/Universal, and in 2003, she released her debut album, Frank. It was a critically acclaimed mix of jazz, soul, pop, and hip-hop. As of 2021, it has been certified triple-platinum in England.

 

Here, Amy attends the BRIT Nominations launch in 2004.

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Amy Winehouse in 2004

Frank earned Amy a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize  — as well as two BRIT awards for Best Female Solo Artist and Best Urban Act. The debut single, “Stronger Than Me,” earned her an Ivor Novello award. It was also during this time that she began to develop a reputation as someone who parties.

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Amy Winehouse Performs in 2004

Amy Winehouse, seen here performing at the 2004’s Nationwide Mercury Music Prize event in London. Frank hinted at the problems that would plague Amy for the rest of her short life – the song “Mr. Magic,” a hidden track on the album, was about substance abuse.

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Amy Winehouse in 2005

Here, Amy Winehouse attends the 25th BRIT Awards in 2005. In 2003, Amy began her relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, a music video assistant who admitted to introducing her to hard drugs. The couple’s on/off relationship often devolved into public fistfights and dramatic scenes, according to Biography. In private, the romance was centered around drugs, alcohol, and physical abuse.

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Amy Winehouse in 2006

Amy Winehouse attends the 2006 Q Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. 


“If you’re a musician, and you have things you want to get out, you write music,” Amy said in 2006, per The Guardian. “You don’t want to be settled, because when you’re settled you might as well call it a day.” In 2006, Amy’s management company suggested that she enter rehab for alcohol abuse. Instead, she dumped the company and turned the experience into the lead single for Back In Black. “Rehab” became a Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, and earned her another Ivor Novello award for the best contemporary song. It also won her the BRIT award for Best Female Solo Artist. America ate it up. Amy was an international success.

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Amy Winehouse in 2007

Amy Winehouse attends the 2007 BRIT Awards. 


Back To Black made the highest debut for a UK female, at the time, on the Billboard charts. Amy briefly dated a chef named Alex Claire for nine months while on a break from Blake Fielder-Civil, but the two then reunited and got engaged in April 2007. They wed on May 18, 2007, in a ceremony in Miami.

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Amy Winehouse in 2008

Amy Winehouse, out and about in Central London, in 2008. 

 

Amy was hospitalized for a drug overdose on Aug. 8, 2007. Though she first claimed the stay was due to exhaustion, she later said that she had OD’d on a mix of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, whisky, and vodka, per Biography. The episode put her North American tour on hold, and doctors ordered her to rest and recover.

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Amy Winehouse in 2008

Amy Winehouse, seen here during her 2008 Grammy performance at Riverside Studios in London. 


Amy attempted to tour Europe in the fall of 2007. She was arrested for cannabis possession in Bergen in October. In November, she showed up to Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena in no condition to sing. She did anyway, and the crowd turned on her during her intoxicated performance. Amy finally entered rehab in 2008. She was denied entry into the U.S. due to her “use and abuse of narcotics.” She was prevented from attending that year’s Grammy Awards and performed remotely via satellite. It was Amy’s biggest night – winning five Grammys, tying with Beyoncé for the then-record for most Grammy wins by a female artist in a single night – and she couldn’t be there in person to enjoy it.

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Amy Winehouse in 2009

Amy Winehouse is seen here in 2009, as she left her Barnet home with her father, Mitch, to attend court in Westminster. She was charged with common assault, stemming from an incident at a charity ball in September 2008, when the singer allegedly assaulted a woman. Later in the year, she was charged with a public order offense and common assault after she allegedly attacked a theatre manager during a family production of Cinderella.

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Amy Winehouse in 2009

Amy Winehouse performs during the Virgin Mobile V Festival in Essex. By the end of 2008, Amy’s marriage had dissolved. In January 2009, she and Blake Fielder-Civil began the divorce proceedings, with Blake filing the papers (citing adultery as the reason for the split).

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Amy Winehouse in 2010

Amy initially said in the press that she would fight the divorce, but an uncontested divorce was granted in July 2009. Blake Fielder-Civil reportedly received no money in the settlement. In early 2010, Amy began dating Reg Traviss, a writer/director. Here, they are seen leaving London’s Balans restaurant just after 3 a.m.

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Amy Winehouse, Remembered

Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011. Amy’s bodyguard found her in bed and unsuccessfully tried to wake her. He chalked it up to her usually sleeping late after a night out, but when he checked on her in the afternoon and she hadn’t moved, he found that she wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Two ambulances rushed to her home, where she was pronounced dead on the scene.


A coroner’s report released in October 2011 ruled that Amy had died from alcohol poisoning, that her blood alcohol content was 0.41, more than five times the legal drink-drive limit. A second inquest confirmed that she died from accidental alcohol poisoning.


The death shocked the music world. Family and friends attended her funeral on July 26, 2011, at Edgwarebury Lane Cemetery in north London. She was later cremated, and in 2012, her ashes were buried alongside her grandmother's.

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Amy Winehouse, Remembered

Ten years after her death, Amy is still remembered for her impact. She’s credited for influencing and/or paving the way for a range of artists, including Bruno Mars, Halsey, Sam Smith, Lana Del Rey, and Billie Eilish. A statue of Amy was unveiled in Camden Town, London, in 2014, and the Amy Winehouse Foundation was launched to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol abuse in young people. There was a 2015 documentary, Amy, and Green Day wrote a song (“Amy” on 2012’s¡Dos!) about her. Though her light burned brightly for just a short time, the world still basks in Amy’s glow, even 10 years since her passing.



This article originally appeared on Hollywood Life and is syndicated by Cheapism.