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In memoriam: Amy Winehouse

By Nigel Young

Image: Island Records


Following the funeral, the British radio waves are full of Amy Winehouse music. Those of us who learned as teenagers about great women blues and soul singers from listening to the voices of Billie Holliday and Bessie Smith, had no such contemporary singers of our own “Beatles” generation, white or black. The emergence of great new talents in this genre was something remarkable.

So then appeared the doomed but special Amy Winehouse. One could listen, but there was little to do to help. Her fall seemed just as inevitable as that of my brilliant high school contemporary, Brian Jones. Critics say she will be remembered for only a few songs–but of course that is true of many of the greatest talents we remember, especially those who die young. Her very best known song (Rehab) raised one very cruel issue, and the album “Back to Black” will be remembered as acutely self-prophetic.

Her voice was one in a generation, her talent immense–just listen to “Valerie”. So long Amy, we’ll still be listening!

As Colgate University’s Cooley Professor of Peace Studies, Nigel Young held the first endorsed Peace Studies Chair in North America. He was also a co-founder of the UK’s first Peace Studies Department at the University of Bradford (1973) and has authored, co-authored, and edited many works in the field.  He is Editor in Chief of The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace.

Recent Comments

  1. Sharon (Birmingham)

    I made myself not like Amy’s songs whilst she continued to make music, only because of the news & connection to drugs, but when Amy sang, I couldn’t help but listen.

    I’m not a saint I indulge in alcohol myself and the positive release of any problems it gives, however, we all know it’s short lived. If I had a wish, it would be to wipe out the last three weeks and for Amy to live long enough to get to this level of understanding too.

    I’ve just purchased both of her albums from Amazon, not condoning her lifestyle and choices, but now acknowledging what a special voice she had, and one I would like to continue to have in my life.

    Thank you Amy, I look forward to hearing more from your god-daughter, whom it is clear that you have influenced and loved – I really hope you have found a place where peace has found you and you can be who you want to be – you have affected me and I will remember you xxx

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