Amy Winehouse and Club 27

Posted by M ws On Sunday, July 24, 2011 4 comments
As many would know by now, Amy Winehouse was found dead at her house in north London. Police discovered the body of the 27 year-old award-winning artist, famous for hits including Rehab from the critically acclaimed album Back to Black in the late afternoon. Her death was being treated on Saturday night as "unexplained" but sources said she had died of a drugs overdose. May she R.I.P. always.

I must admit I had never listened to any of her songs before her demise. This morning, I listened to Love is a Losing Game. And then I watched a clip of her last concert in Serbia where she was booed by the audience after which I had an inkling of her meteoric rise and her anti-gravitational dip to less than mediocrity, thanks to the long-term problems she had with drugs and alcohol - the sum of which had made her the focus of media attention since becoming a global success five years ago. What a fantastic sultry voice she had and such talent, now - gone in the twinkling of an eye.

According to Wikipedia:

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was a British singer-songwriter known for her powerful contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz.

Winehouse's 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British singer to win five Grammys, including three of the "Big Four": Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. On 14 February 2007, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. She won the Ivor Novello Award three times, one in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for "Stronger Than Me", one in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for "Rehab", and one in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Love Is a Losing Game", among other prestigious distinctions. The album was the third biggest seller of the 2000s in the United Kingdom.

Winehouse was credited as an influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and also for revitalising British music. Winehouse's distinctive style made her a muse for fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld. The singer's problems with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as self-destructive behaviour, were regular tabloid news from 2007 until her death. She and her former husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were plagued by legal troubles that left him serving prison time. In 2008, Winehouse faced a series of health complications that threatened both her career and her life. Read more here.

An article carried by The Sunday Times (UK) three years ago called The weird and wonderful world of Amy Winehouse said:

The booze fuels a life that is three parts vocal vamp, one part north London Jewish girl and several parts deep insecurity with a large dollop of I-don’t-give-a-damn on top. She is the wild child of the moment, a female version of Pete Doherty, the singer known for his attraction to Kate Moss and other addictive substances.

Winehouse has several advantages, such as talent and wit. When she speaks her mind, which is often, a stinging frankness swarms out from beneath the beehive.

She has described the music of Dido, once the poster girl of pop, as “background music — the background to death”. She has little time, too, for clean-cut Kylie, of whom she has said: “She’s not an artist . . . she’s a pony . . . a little, cute, beautiful pony.”

Her jazz-chic combination of vocal brilliance and personal recklessness, wrapped up in a look where the tattoos sometimes appear more prominent than the clothes, have made her a figure of fascination.

After winning a Brit, she is heading for a million-selling album. But the doubters are wondering just how long it can go on before the cocktail turns Molotov and it all explodes.

And it exploded last night when she died tragically.

For five years, Amy Winehouse had not released an album. In 2006, she released her masterpiece, “Back to Black,” in UK. Her infamous and now a sadly prophetic single “Rehab” won Grammy Awards as Record of the Year and Song of the Year and the Ivor Novello Award in Britain.

Her rebellious streak can be seen in the opening lines of "Rehab".

They tried to make me go to rehab but I said 'no, no, no'
Yes I've been black but when I come back you'll know know know
I ain't got the time and if my daddy thinks I'm fine
He's tried to make me go to rehab but I won't go go go

I'd rather be at home with ray
I ain't got seventy days
Cause there's nothing
There's nothing you can teach me
That I can't learn from Mr Hathaway

I didn't get a lot in class
But I know it don't come in a shot glass

In an appraisal of Amy Winehouse, John Pareles of NYT said:  

But her self-destruction was a deep loss to listeners. Ms. Winehouse was no manufactured pop commodity. She was a genuine musician: one of the very small handful of British singers whose version of American soul music had a gutsiness and flair far beyond what could be studied.

Amy Winehouse was 27 years old when she died. A significant number of famous musicians also died at 27 including:

Amy Winehouse
Kurt Cobain
Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
Jim Morrison
Brian Jones

Click here for a collection of videos of those musicians who departed at the age of 27. 

CLICK HERE for the 20 Notable People who died at 27.

Psychology Today asked why does it seem that young musicians have died at 27?

There is a "Forever 27 Club" listing on Wikipedia, and people have created websites about a "27 Curse". Is this just coincidence? Or is there really a "27 Curse"?

Wikipedia said "The Curse of 27 is the belief that 27 is an unlucky number due to the number of famous musicians and entertainers who have died at the age. Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Janis Joplin, Jonathan Brandis, Kurt Cobain and more recently, Amy Winehouse, are all believed to have been affected by the Curse of 27. The number 27 has been said to "follow" and bring bad luck to people. They see it random times through out the day, on the clock, on the tv, in phone numbers, math problems, dates, jersey number's, etc."

Psychology Today gave a social psychological perspective of the situation:

There is a social psychology phenomenon known as causal attribution. This is when a person (or society) attributes outcomes to particular causes. When there is a tragic young death of a famous person, we tend to look for some reason why it happened, or in this case, why these deaths collectively happened. We try to make sense of it. And when we can't make sense of it, we find a way for it to make sense. So the "27 Curse" began.

Jon Pareles of NYT wrote:

In songs she wrote largely on her own, Ms. Winehouse sang about her misery after a breakup, and about temptations she could not fight off: alcohol, drugs, sex and addict boyfriends. But with girl-group harmonies around her, and arrangements harking back to Motown, Stax and ska, she sounded shrewd and knowing, a woman who recognized all her own weaknesses and could see beyond them. Her beehive hairdos and out-to-there eyelashes only made her appear more amused, more in control, at least at the beginning.

In her music, Ms. Winehouse could sketch out her troubles and laugh them off, with a resilient beat and that insouciant flutter in her voice. Outside the recording studio, as a human being separate from her art, Ms. Winehouse couldn’t do that. Her songs, it turned out, would be wiser than she was.

Click here to listen to The DL - Amy Winehouse 'Valerie' Live. There, someone named ndillard4 left this comment:

She was unreal, man... vocally unmatched. SUCH a sad loss and waste of a talented life. the things she could have done if only she could have gotten clean... we can only imagine. rest in peace, mama.

Whatever the case, I am deeply saddened that Amy Winehouse, a young lady who had such natural talent and gifting, did not break out of the problems that were crippling her from within and without. Listening to her lyrics and deep sultry voice reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and yet with a dash of Cher and perhaps Tina Turner, I know that this loss will be felt many decades down the road, especially since more will be analyzing her music, her life and its impact. I am sure many tried to help her but her declaration in "Rehab" tells us that she knew where she was going in that road of destruction, a choice of her own, and one might think that perhaps now, she has found peace and solace of her own. Rest in peace, Amy Winehouse.

4 comments to Amy Winehouse and Club 27

  1. says:

    TO Wow, what a great piece of research and writing from someone who had not listened to any songs of Amy Winehouse before (her sudden demise yesterday). Well done! Where have you been to have not heard any of her songs before? LOL! Make amends now and listen to her album Back To Black repeatedly. What a great loss to the musical world, and even though this tragedy was not so unexpected, it still came as a shock. RIP Amy Winehouse.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear TO,

    Thanks so much for you kind and encouraging comment. If truth be told, I would not have known about Amy Winehouse if not for you.

    I knew that she was a pop star with drink and drug problems but had never listened to her songs for I thought she was probably another Lady Gaga type. It was a shock to me to discover what a marvellous voice God had given to her and the tremendous talent and potential she carried with her.

    What a tragedy that no one was able to reach out to her and to help her find her way back!

    Indeed, her demise is a monumental loss to the world of music and showbiz.

    And er...I have been hiding behind the laptop blogging - which is why I missed her music.

    Thanks again for your input and for introducing me to her music. You have been a great blessing to me and my blogging mania.

    Have a blessed day!


  1. says:

    Sembang-sembang Forum she is the Sylvia Plath of songs. she's right, no need for rehab. her art is rehab to all.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Thanks for your terrific comment! You are one of the few I know who knows about/read Sylvia Plath, another tragic soul who left behind not only her literary works but also a host of mystery behind her death. And Amy Winehouse is another tragic enigmatic lost soul.

    Take care and do keep in touch.


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