M.I.A, Russell Brand, Tony Bennett, and Lady Gaga pay tribute to Amy Winehouse


Everyone from M.I.A and Russell Brand to Tony Bennett to Lady Gaga has paid tribute to Amy Winehouse, who was found dead at her Camden home on Saturday afternoon. Amy Winehouse was only 27 and had released only two albums.

Report from CMU: The singer’s body was discovered in her bed by one of her security guards at about 4pm, but it is possible she died some hours earlier. The cause of death is as yet unknown, and probably won’t be confirmed for some weeks until the results of toxicology tests, due to be carried out today, are available.

There was predictable speculation that her untimely passing was the result of a drugs overdose, though tabloid reports say police found no evidence of recent drug taking at her home, and it’s just as likely her death was the result of chronic ill health brought about by years of drug taking and excessive drinking, though that too is speculation until the aforementioned test results are available.

Police spokesman Superintendent Raj Kohli, speaking outside Winehouse’s Camden home on Saturday night, said: “It would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death. My sympathy extends not just to her immediate family but clearly to the thousands and millions of fans across the world”.

Winehouse’s label, Universal Music, subsequently issued its own statement confirming the singer’s death, and adding: “We are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of such a gifted musician, artist, performer and friend. Our prayers go out to Amy’s family, friends and fans at this difficult time”.

Winehouse’s mother Janis had spent Friday with her daughter, while her father Mitch was in New York promoting his own jazz album. As Mitch returned to London, the family issued a statement yesterday, saying: “Our family has been left bereft by the loss of Amy, a wonderful daughter, sister, niece. She leaves a gaping hole in our lives. We are coming together to remember her and we would appreciate some privacy and space at this terrible time”.

As news spread of Winehouse’s death on Saturday evening, collaborators, friends and celebrity fans of the singer took to Twitter to post their tributes, among them the following:
Mark Ronson: “She was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me. This is one of the saddest days of my life”.
Russell Brand: “We have lost a beautiful and talented woman”.
Producer Salaam Remi: “Very very sad day. Just lost a great friend and a sister. RIP my baby sis Cherry Winehouse. Love ya always”.

Lady Gaga: “Amy changed pop music forever, I remember knowing there was hope, and feeling not alone because of her. She lived jazz, she lived the blues”.

Also paying tribute, via more traditional routes, was Tony Bennett, who earlier this year recorded a duet with Winehouse for his next album. He issued a statement saying: “Amy Winehouse was an artist of immense proportions and I am deeply saddened to learn of her tragic passing. 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. She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance. I was honoured to have the opportunity to sing with her. It had been my sincere hope that she would be able to overcome the issues she was battling and I send my deepest sympathy to her father Mitchell, her entire family and all of those who loved her”.

Meanwhile, Neil Portnow of the US Recording Academy, noting Winehouse’s Grammy successes, said: “Five-time Grammy winner Amy Winehouse was a dynamic performer and musician who seamlessly blended rock, jazz, pop, and soul and created a sound all her own. Her rich, soulful and unique voice reflected her honest songwriting and earned her a devoted fan following, critical acclaim, and the genuine respect and admiration of her musical peers. She will forever be remembered for her immense talent, and her music will live on for generations to come. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and fans during this difficult time”.
M.I.A released a unfinished demo entitled ’27’ via twitter in tribute to the troubled star although its controversial lyrics: “All rock stars go to heaven, You said you’ll be dead at 27,” have raised critical voices.

27 by _M_I_A_

Fans gathered outside Winehouse’s home and at her favourite Camden hangout the Hawley Arms on Saturday night to mourn the singer. A funeral is likely to take place within days, as is customary in Jewish families, though plans can’t be made until the timing of that post-mortem is confirmed.

Many of the first reports on twitter predictably focused on Winehouse’s age, 27, meaning, of course, she joins the so called 27 Club, a list of other former troubled rock icons who died prematurely at the same age. Other ‘club members’ include Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.She apparently even admitted to friends that she feared that she would become part of the ‘club.’ Although the whole myth of the 27 club lead to a backlash of those who rightly say that they only things that these artists have in common is a insecurity and inability to handle extreme fame, and tragic addictions. These are issues that cannott be summarised in a few soundbites on twitter.

As is customary in the download age, news of Winehouse’s passing had an immediate effect on the iTunes charts, with both ‘Back To Black’ and the special edition of the same album soon appearing in the download store’s top 20 albums. With only hours between her death and the end of the chart week, those sales only resulted in low overall chart positions yesterday, but the Official Charts Company says it expects Winehouse songs and albums to appear higher up in its lists next Sunday. Whether we will ever see a third album from Amy Winehouse is at this time unknown. However there were rumours that she had recorded tracks whilst recovering in Jamaica that took on a more of a 2 tone influence but these were blocked by her record company. These reports are unconfirmed at this time.

What is clear is that another talented artist has been snatched from us all too soon. Despite her obvious issues, Amy Winehouse was one of the most distinctive voices of the last decade. Her smoky fusion of soul/jazz and pop dripped with the demons that she battled with every day and her tortured sensitive soul was laid bare every time she wrote and performed a new song. Amy was a style icon too, her unique 50s beehive hairdo, the cat-like krol eyes, the tattoos coupled with her razor sharp wit were all part of her appeal. Those that seek to blame her demise on her own addictions may have a point everyone is responsible for their own actions. But addiction is a complicated illness, that affects millions of people every day, not just rock stars and is usually a symptom of much deeper mental health issues. That she opened the doors for the soul/pop cross over success of the likes of Adele, Duffy, Paloma Faith et al is unquestioned. When we look back in years to come it won’t be her age, the drug taking or the descent we remember but the music, here is a tribute playlist of her work and influences on Spotify:

R.I.P Amy


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.