Artists and Fans Pay Tribute to Amy Winehouse


Amy Winehouse in London in 2007.

After the news of Amy Winehouse’s death at the age of 27 broke on Saturday, there was an immediate outpouring of feelings from fans and fellow artists. Many paid tribute to her talent while others lamented her battles with addiction (it should be noted that her cause of death has yet to be determined).

Saturday night,  M.I.A. posted a previously-unreleased demo track called 27, which she dedicated to all her friends who died at that age. Check out that song here:

M.I.A., 27

Rapper/producer Big Boi also released a tribute track. On Sunday, he posted an Organized Noize Dungeon Family remix of Winehouse’s song Tears Dry on their Own, which appeared on her 2006 album Back to Black. Hear that below:

Bi Boi’s Tears Dry on their Own

One of the most notable reactions to the singer’s death is a written piece by Russell Brand, who has himself struggled with addiction. He wrote about his early encounters with her, about her incredible talent and about how society views addiction:

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.

News of her death has also sparked some debate about addiction, about the how preventable her demise was, and about the way she was treated in the media. There were tasteless jokes that played off the lyrics to Rehab, and even laments that she would pull focus from the tragedy that happened the previous day in Norway.

“There’s [sic] heaps of lessons to be learned from watching the downfalls, but there’s absolutely zero to be gained by declaring war on the dead,” Amanda Palmer wrote on her blog. Kimya Dawson sent several tweets about her own struggles with addiction and encouraging others to get help.

While some were concerned about the attention her death received compared to Friday’s attacks in Oslo, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. While the mass murders abroad are tragic, and people acknowledge and mourn their senselessness, music carries a personal connection. A song or an album can bring back memories, good or bad, giving an artist significance even to someone who has never met them. We cry and celebrate along with music, we use songs to nurse a broken heart or memorialize a happy occasion. So when something happens to the artist who provided that soundtrack, we feel it. It doesn’t make a far-away tragedy any less horrifying, but it’s a different sort of connection.

Amy Winehouse was cremated today following a private funeral at which her father, Mitch, gave the eulogy.

Shows this week:

July 26: Heartsounds/Dead Ringer/Spirit Houses/The Reveling/Pumps, The Acheron, 8 p.m., all ages
Disappears/The Psychic Paramount, Union Pool, 9 p.m., $10/12
The Constellations/Bird Dog, Brooklyn Bowl, 9 p.m., free entry before 7 p.m., $5 after

July 27: Sugar Blue/The Tangiers Blues Band/Hired Killers Inc., Brooklyn Bowl, 7:30 p.m., free
Hyro Da Hero/Wordspit/Cody B. Ware, Knitting Factory, 7:30 p.m., $6/8
Life Size Maps/Milton Melvin Croissant III/dugoutcanoe, Death By Audio, 8 p.m., all ages, $7

July 28: Shilpa Ray (solo)/Quilty/The Back Pockets/Utopia Park/Bermuda Bonnie, Shea Stadium, 9 p.m.
Bright and Early/We Still Dream/Candy Hearts/Up for Nothing, The Acheron, 8 p.m., all ages

July 29: Nomo/Nat Baldwin, Union Pool, 9 p.m., $10/12
Eels/The Submarines, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 9 p.m., 18+, $30
Endangered Feces/SpEd/Violent Affair/Combat Crisis/Olde York, Xpo 929, 6 p.m.
Fiasco/Herzog/Web Dating/DIVE/Day Dress, Shea Stadium, 9 p.m.

July 30: Candy Apple Red matinee: Koolidge/Out of Step/Let Me Crazy/Prognosis Negative/Hopeless Otis, Xpo 929, 3:15 p.m., all ages, $7
Eels/The Submarines, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 9 p.m., 18+, $30
Tall Stranger/Jeremy Benson of Roadside Graves, Union Hall, 7 p.m., $7

July 31: Sweet Bulbs/Dinowalrus/The Night Beats/Liquor Store/Yvette, Shea Stadium, 9 p.m.
Harry & The Potters/MC Kreacher/Leema Mountain, Knitting Factory, 7 p.m., $10/12

August 1: Robbers on High Street/Only Son/Blackbells, Brooklyn Bowl, 8 p.m., $5
Mother Mother/Prussia, Knitting Factory, 9 p.m., $7
Simon Scott and the Infidels/Annie Ragsdale, The Bell House, 8 p.m., $5

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