"The minute she heard that, her eyes popped wide open and she said, 'You know that I like Dinah Washington?' I said, 'She was a friend of mine.' She was all excited that I knew Dinah Washington and that was the main inspiration. And from that moment on, the record came out just beautiful...Postmortem: sales of the singer's music skyrocket; likelihood of a third album to be released; possibility that Blake Fielder-Civil may be in line to inherit the estate. (Update: or not.)
"Everybody just said, 'Oh, I don't know how you're going to handle her,' but I felt completely different. She really loves to perform. Every great artist I ever met, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, they'd always have the butterflies. And Amy Winehouse was like that, she was always apprehensive of what was going to happen."
I hope there is a third album. I'm sure there are parts of one somewhere, which is all a record company needs. Her most recent single was a brilliant workaround; her limitations, we now learn, included emphysema.
Online listeners and critics are already discussing how Amy Winehouse will be remembered. Frank is eclectic but above all observed, like a good student doing her jazz homework. The themes of heartbreak are acquired and the lyrics so neat the arrangements are practically ruled off underneath. It was only with Back to Black (as uneven in texture as many other albums from her UK contemporaries – don't engineers mix any more?) that the artist began to inhabit and embrace the dissolute jazz persona the performer had created.
I still don't buy the title track or 'You Know I'm No Good', with its fifth-form poetry imagery but when she cracked the lyric 'He walks away / The sun goes down' for 'Tears Dry On Their Own' I fell for La Winehouse hook, line and sinker. With that track she put everything she had on the girl group sound and doubled down. Restless, pissed-off and charming, that single was shorthand for a whole lot of music that came before and a hint of what might have been.