Thursday, 28 July 2011

"But you make me cry, where's my kiss goodbye? I think I love you"

I know what you're thinking, and it could be one of two things.

No.1 - "Why is he writing about her? He didn't know her! What a fraud!"


No.2 - "Oh no, not another somebody/nobody yapping on about Amy Winehouse! Get off the bandwagon, you un-original bore!"

Well, you'd be right, I didn't know Amy Winehouse and no, I appreciate it's not the most original post, certainly in light of the ever-so-slightly staggering figure of 20% of ALL Twitter users were discussing her death.

But it's not the first time I've written about the passing of someone I never knew personally, but as I try to just write from the heart when I sit here staring at my monitor, this post is going to happen, whether it's original or not!

What I certainly don't need to do, is give you dates, song titles, her brassy attitude, struggle with this, that or the other - you already know all that, right?

No, I just wanted to say that in my lifetime, there have been lots and lots of singers / bands / groups that I've really liked, songs that I've instantly recognised on the radio, songs to have on in the background, at work, perhaps, or while you're preparing dinner.

However, on far rarer occasions, a singer / band / group has floated out of my various sets of speakers - be they car speakers, portable radio, hi-fi system, whatever - and the sound or voice has made me stop dead in my tracks, forcing me to put down whatever it is that I happened to be doing, and carefully listen to the music or the lyrics, turning the volume up, breathing quietly, so as not to miss the name of whoever the voice or sound belongs to.

Amy Winehouse had this effect on me.

I remember hearing a track from Frank on the radio at work and rushing out to Oxford Street at lunchtime to buy it, asking the guy who served me what other albums were available.

With a very unimpressed look on his unhelpful face, I can remember him replying, "that's her first album mate. She ain't released anyfing else yet".

And so began my fascination with Amy and her amazing voice. This was closely followed by watching her, transfixed, on Jools Holland's Hootenanny, one New Years Eve.

I remember thinking that three years was ages to have to wait for her next, brilliant album to be released, and how long was it going to take before that next one would be available but, I guess we all know the answer to that one.

She's been compared to lots of singers who died "tragically young" - Hendrix, Joplin, Cobain - but I never really knew their music and, as such, haven't experienced the weird sense of loss (of someone I don't know) that I've been experiencing this time around.

I just thought she was superb.

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