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Troubled diva Amy Winehouse dead at 27
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Winehouse’s rise was helped by her distinctive look _ black beehive of hair, thickly lined cat eyes, girly tattoos _ and her tart tongue.
She was famously blunt in her assessment of her peers, once describing Dido’s sound as “background music _ the background to death” and saying of pop princess Kylie Minogue, “she’s not an artist … she’s a pony.”
The songs on “Black to Black” detailed breakups and breakdowns with a similar frankness. Lyrically, as in life, Winehouse wore her heart on her sleeve.
“I listen to a lot of ‘60s music, but society is different now,” Winehouse said in 2007. “I’m a young woman and I’m going to write about what I know.”
Even then, Winehouse’s performances were sometimes shambolic, and she admitted she was “a terrible drunk.”
Increasingly, her personal life began to overshadow her career.
She acknowledged struggling with eating disorders and told a newspaper that she had been diagnosed as manic depressive but refused to take medication. Soon accounts of her erratic behavior, canceled concerts and drink- and drug-fueled nights began to multiply.
Photographs caught her unsteady on her feet or vacant-eyed, and she appeared unhealthily thin, with scabs on her face and marks on her arms.
There were embarrassing videos released to the world on the Internet. One showed an addled Winehouse and Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty playing with newborn mice. Another, for which Winehouse apologized, showed her singing a racist ditty to the tune of a children’s song.
Winehouse’s managers went to increasingly desperate lengths to keep the wayward star on the straight and narrow. Before a June 2011 concert in Belgrade _ the first stop on a planned European comeback tour _ her hotel was stripped of booze. It did no good,
Winehouse swayed and slurred her way through barely recognizable songs, as her band played gamely and the audience jeered and booed.
Though she was often reported to be working on new material, fans got tired of waiting for the much-promised followup to “Back to Black.”
Occasional bits of recording saw the light of day. Her rendition of The Zutons’ “Valerie” was a highlight of producer Mark Ronson’s 2007 album “Version,” and she recorded the pop classic “It’s My Party” for the 2010 Quincy Jones album “Q: Soul Bossa Nostra.”
But other recording projects with Ronson, one of the architects of the success of “Back to Black,” came to nothing.
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