Saturday, July 23, 2011
Gone to Black...
"If there's a rock and roll heaven, well you know they've got a hell of a band."
In the mid-1970s, The Righteous Brothers recorded Rock and Roll Heaven, a tribute to musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jim Croce, Bobby Darin and Otis Redding, who died too soon. It was updated in early 1991 to include Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Dennis Wilson, John Lennon, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Cass Elliot, who died a few months after the original version of the song was released.
With the untimely, yet sadly not unexpected, death today Amy Winehouse today, the song could stand another round of updates. Winehouse, who had long struggled with substance abuse and mental health issues, was found dead in her London flat. She was 27 years old.
Eerily, Winehouse now joins "the 27 club"along with Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison and Kurt Cobain, all who died at age 27. Like those who preceded her in tragic death, Winehouse was an exceptional talent who could not escape the dangerously magnetic pull of drugs. While she certainly was more than aware of her struggles, chronicling them in her hit Rehab, her life seemed destined to end in the tragic way it did.
She won five Grammy Awards in 2008, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, yet her career was marked more by public breakdowns, canceling performances due to "illness" and, most recently, being booed off a stage in Belgrade while visibly high and forgetting the lyrics to one of her songs.
I've been taken in by Winehouse's talent from day one, even enjoying her earlier jazz vocal performances, including Moody's Mood for Love. But in addition to her two most notable hits, Rehab and You Know I'm No Good, the songs of hers I seem to play the most are Tears Dry on Their Own, Amy Amy Amy, and the song I've embedded below, the Mark Ronson-fueled Valerie.
RIP, Amy. Hopefully you're in a place where you will no longer struggle with addiction, and more importantly, I hope you get to sing lead sometimes with the amazing all-star band in rock and roll heaven.