- Associated Press - Saturday, July 23, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Few artists summed up their own career in a single song _ a single line _ as well as Amy Winehouse.

“They tried to make me go to rehab,” she sang on her world-conquering 2006 single, “Rehab.” “I said ‘No, no no.’”

Occasionally, she said yes, but to no avail: repeated stints in hospitals and clinics couldn’t stop alcohol and drugs scuttling the career of a singer whose distinctive voice, rich mix of influences and heart-on-her sleeve sensibility seemed to promise great things.

In her short lifetime, Winehouse too often made headlines because of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, destructive relationships and abortive performances. But it’s her small but powerful body of recorded music that will be her legacy.


The singer was found dead Saturday at age 27 by ambulance crews called to her home in north London’s Camden area, a youth-culture mecca known for its music scene, its pubs _ and the availability of illegal drugs.

The London Ambulance Service said Winehouse had died before crews arrived at the house in leafy Camden Square. The cause of death was not immediately known.

The singer’s body was taken from her home by private ambulance to a London mortuary where post-mortem examinations were to be carried out either Sunday or Monday. Police said in a statement no arrests have been made in connection with her death.

It was not a complete surprise, but the news was still a huge shock for millions around the world. The size of Winehouse’s appeal was reflected in the extraordinary range of people paying tribute as they heard the news, from Demi Moore _ who tweeted “Truly sad news … May her troubled soul find peace” _ to chef Jamie Oliver, who wrote “such a waste, raw talent” on the social networking site.

Tony Bennett, who recorded the pop standard “Body And Soul” with Winehouse at London’s Abbey Road Studios in March for an upcoming duets album, called her “an artist of immense proportions.”

“She was an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist and I am truly devastated that her exceptional talent has come to such an early end,” he said.

Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood said he was dedicating Saturday’s reunion performance of his band The Faces to Winehouse. “It’s a very sad loss of a very good friend I spent many great times with,” he said.

Winehouse was something rare in an increasingly homogenized music business _ an outsized personality and an unclassifiable talent.

She shot to fame with the album “Back to Black,” whose blend of jazz, soul, rock and classic pop was a global hit. It won five Grammys and made Winehouse _ with her black beehive hairdo and old-fashioned sailor tattoos _ one of music’s most recognizable stars.

“I didn’t go out looking to be famous,” Winehouse told the Associated Press when the album was released. “I’m just a musician.”

But in the end, the music was overshadowed by fame, and by Winehouse’s demons. Tabloids lapped up the erratic stage appearances, drunken fights, stints in hospital and rehab clinics. Performances became shambling, stumbling train wrecks, watched around the world on the Internet.

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