The death of Amy Winehouse on Saturday July 23 was up there with the biggest shocks of the year and was definitely the biggest loss of not only 2011 but, in my opinion, the last decade. The dynamic Brit won over audiences world wide when she rose to international prominence after the release of the single 'Rehab' in 2006 from the 'Back to Black' album, which won her 6 Grammy Awards.
After much speculation it was uncovered that the artist had drank herself to death, consuming 3 bottles of vodka accumulating to 416mg of alcohol, which is five times the legal drink-drive limit of 80mg. It was reported that the artist's private GP, Christina Romete, did not believe that Amy intended to drink herself to death as just hours earlier Amy had said that she did not want to die and that she had not yet achieved all that she set out to.
This incomplete feeling is shared by many, including me, with the debut 'Frank' and the jaw dropping 'Back to Black' it was clear that Amy was not your regular run of the mill female artist. Considering the fact that her entire discography could be listened to in just a few hours, it is almost startling that the artist made so much of an impact. In addition to her smouldering, soulful voice, Amy had an undeniable talent for song writing, with lyrics that were both sharp and witty but subtly beautiful. Yet, despite the clever lyrics, covers of Winehouse never hold the same resonance. Amy gave both 'Rehab' and 'Valerie', which are essentially both commercial pop songs, depth and edge with her instantly recognisable and raw voice.
With this is mind, I agree with what Amy said- she did still have so much to give. With just two short albums she had left an irreversible mark on the music industry, just imagine what she could have done with two more. Daily Telegraph critic Neil McComick voiced the thoughts shared by millions when he said, 'It's deeply sad. It is the most completely tragic waste of talent that I can remember.'
As 2011 comes to a close and I reflect back on this loss, there is one thing I find slightly unsettling and that is the question of what will Amy Winehouse really be remembered for? In spite of her celebrated talent, the downward spiral of Amy's private life in the years following the release of 'Back to Black' is still prominent in the memories of many. It seems she was never able to escape the ghosts of her past with trips to rehab, numerous arrests and increasingly erratic live performances. In death will Amy still be unable to escape these ghosts? Will her reputation be remembered alongside her undeniable talent? Will she be put in the same category as musicians such as GG Allin and Jimmy Hendrix? I hope that time will treat Winehouse kindly and that future generations will learn from her troubles with addiction but will remember Amy firstly for her music so she can finally rest peacefully.