dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse

This is my Amy Winehouse non-story. First of all, I wasn't a huge fan, like, say, Xolondon (read his thoughtful post on the British singer's too-untimely passing), though I appreciated her musical contributions.

My favorite: her Mark Ronson cover of the Zutons' "Valerie," a #2 hit in the UK nearly four years ago.

My friend Steve made me a mix CD back in December 2004 that had Amy's Frank single "Fuck Me Pumps" on it, which marked the first time I ever heard one of her songs. Of course, it wasn't until "Rehab" came along in October 2006 and became a hit first in the UK, and then, the following spring, in the US, that the world at large really opened their eyes and ears to her.

Anyway, Back To Black was released in the States in March 2007. I was working at Instinct at the time, and had an interview set up with Amy. She was staying at a hotel in New York, where she was doing promo. I remember being kind of nervous, because there were, of course, the stories: erratic behavior, boozy rants, sharp words etc.

But the conversation was being done over the phone, so I figured, what's the worst that could happen? She'd hang up on me, maybe?

I'd done many interviews at that point, but the only other one-on-one I'd been equally as nervous about in the lead-up, for all the same reasons, was Juliette Lewis, in late 2004. (For the record, Juliette wound up being awesome.)

As it turned out, Amy Winehouse never called. Later the publicist contacted me and said that all interviews for that day had been canceled. No explanation was given, and, in a way, I was kind of relieved.

A year later, Back To Black won like 3,000 Grammys, and, as with her home country, Amy had become a tabloid fixture on these shores for her late-night antics. In June 2008 I left Instinct and went to work for the celebrity gossip site Celebuzz, where writing about Amy was sometimes an hourly task — as often as the paparazzi shots of her stumbling around Camden could come in, really.

I guess, in retrospect, I'm not proud of that fact, though nothing we wrote was nasty or mean-spirited. It was just a documentation of the life she led. Still, it wasn't my bag, really, and I only stuck around for about seven months at that job.

Upon learning of Amy's death yesterday, I had a phone conversation with my friend and onetime fellow blogger-in-the-trenches during that brief stint at Celebuzz, Lisa Timmons (who wrote for Socialite Life then and sat next to me in the Buzzmedia office). We reminisced for a bit about those days and, overall, said we both just felt sad.

Ah, well — R.I.P., Amy. You're gone too soon. And I certainly enjoyed making references to your wig here on Chart Rigger back in the day.

For more on the passing of Amy Winehouse, check out Idolator:
* Amy Winehouse's Best Live Performances
* Musicians Mourn The Loss Of Amy Winehouse On Twitter
* Amy Winehouse's 9 Best Photos: In Memoriam
* Amy Winehouse's Early Death Was Unavoidable, Experts Say

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