Sympathy for Amy Winehouse

amy winehouse

Source: Daily Mail

This afternoon I was lying sick in bed, tapping away on the computer, briefly noting the tweets flashing at the top of my screen, when one made me look up in disbelief: “Amy Winehouse reported dead in her home at age 27.”  I quickly went online to see if the rumor was true and couldn’t find anything.  For several minutes, there was nothing reported, so I thought it was another of those Twitter fake death rumors.  Then Huffington Post released an update reporting her death, and then all the news outlets began to follow their lead.  Surprisingly, CNN was slow to pick up the story, probably because they were so engaged in the whole Norway tragedy..quite understandably.  However, the rumor was quickly confirmed.

And then the horrible tweets started to appear.  Many tweeps started saying her death is no surprise.  Many called it predictable.  Many referred to her song about rehab as foreshadowing what was to come.  Many seemed to think she almost deserved to go to the grave.  I had to literally abandon Twitter for the day.

I have just returned from London, where I toured the London Museum of Jewish Life.  Amy Winehouse was prominently featured as a Jewish Londoner who had made it.  Featured on the same wall as Marc Bolan and Frankie Vaughan, she was clearly considered a super star on her home town.  That goes for saying, she was a super star all over the world.

“Back to Black” is an incredible album.  Just think: she made it age 22.  As a singer, she had soul.  Since its 2006 release, I’d been eagerly awaiting her follow-up album.  I’m so sorry that she won’t live to make it. Her voice was strong and and reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin.  I have never stopped listening to the album and adore the words in all her songs including “Love is a Losing Game,” the rhythm in “Tears Dry on Their Own” and the soulfulness in “Wake Up Alone.”   Listening to her music will never be the same.

Back to those horrible tweets. Yes, Amy Winehouse had problems.  Can you imagine trying to recover from addiction publicly?  She had no privacy, no peace.   She became famous overnight, and much of the time, she acted like she didn’t want the fame.   Her trips to rehab, her arrests, walking off the stage mid-performance.. she never really regained her footing after her Grammy win.

So, please have compassion.  Amy Winehouse has a family who are in pain right now.  Her dad, Mitch, was en route to NYC to play at the Blue Note to promote his new album.  He recently stated in the NYT that he owed his music career entirely to her.  I can’t imagine how he’s feeling now.  No parent should ever have a child go before they do.

Now Winehouse is apparently joining the “27 club” for dying at the young age of 27 (how weird is that?).  She’s joining the ranks of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison.  Imagine how different the music industry would have been if they’d all lived.  I feel the same way about Amy Winehouse.  She had a lot more music inside of her, waiting to be produced.  But it never will be.

Comments

  1. As a long time Amy Winehouse fan, it’s deeply appreciated to read a post realizing that this woman has friends and family who are in a state of mourning.

    All the rehab puns are disgusting because addiction is such a difficult thing to overcome. As a someone who has personally recovered her words inspired and made me stronger, I just wish that her career would have span over a much longer period of time.

    May she find peace and may people show some respect.

  2. “Can you imagine trying to recover from addiction publicly?”

    No, because I realized at the age of six years old (despite being learning disabled) that crack was whack. So, I have never used it.

    Winehouse, like the innumerable and less famous drug addicts you’ve seen and actively avoided during your trips to the big city, made the decision to use drugs.

  3. cailin rua says:

    join the ranks? i am pretty sure people are not defined by their age at death. nor their talents. people ( even in death) are defined by their hearts and how much they know love.

  4. I couldn’t agree more! I didn’t know who Amy was aside from a couple entertainment news spots about her drug & alcohol issues. When I saw those tweets start flying by I was shocked. She’d only been in rehab a few months before and addictions are so evil. Recovering from them is a daily battle that people clearly lose sometimes. I have so much compassion for her and her family. It just makes me sad that she couldn’t beat her demons.

  5. It sucks people have to die. But if I’m going to mourn for the death of people, it’s not going to be drugged up celebrities. It’s going to be the people who really died tragically.

    People in Darfur
    Hurricane victims
    Earthquake victims

  6. I completely agree with you. I’m afraid I was one of the tweeters – but my issue was with how shocked everyone was that she died. I’m not at ALL saying that her death was not tragic and said and untimely, however, to say that it was at all shocking would be incorrect. She has a public battle with drugs and she, unfortunately, lost.

    Coming from a family with addicts and having a close friend who is going through the same addiction with her brother, i know how painful it can be to see someone who is lovely and talented and kind be taken away by something as soul sucking as drugs. I think that the most painful part of that battle is watching them turn unto a shell of their former selves – almost unrecognizable from who they used to be. For that reason, I take issue with comparing her to Janis, Jim, Jimi and Kurt – I feel like those figures became glorified in their deaths. I hope to god that Amy’s passing will be used as a cautionary tale (although, I won’t hold my breath on that one). Drugs are not glamourous, they do not make us happy, they do not make us more talented. And someone who uses them should be treated as someone who has cancer – a physical illness. Perhaps if Amy’s illness has been seen as that, a) she would have gotten the help she needed and b) we’d all have a little more sympathy for her. Not to completely contradict myself, but she also DID have a choice that cancer patients don’t. She had the resources to get help – as did the other members of the 27 club. They stress in Al-Anon that you cannot help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. Sad but so true.

    Thanks for the post!

    Meghan

    • Megan, I agree about the comparisons to the other rock stars who died at 27. I really meant that her life was cut too short and I’m sorry I won’t hear anymore of her music.
      Her death should be a cautionary tale for all of us.

      I also agree that it’s a shame she didn’t seek help to try to save herself. Great response.

  7. ladynthetramp says:

    @Anthony from CharismaticKid – Everyone can mourn whomever they chose to… but not disrespect other people’s sadness, loss or mourning. Plus talking down about someone who is deceased is simply immoral and tacky.
    As for mourning loss of large number of victims due to natural disasters, obviously any loss of life is sad and those numbers do increase the focus on the underlying tragedy but i do think it’s naive to refer to an addiction as self-inflicted as sometimes it’s anything but and it’s very difficult to break out of. Also, it’s easier to relate to someone who u almost feel u know due to excessive coverage of celebrities every move these days. and hence easier to mourn her loss.

    @culturemom, I totally agree with everything you said here in this article and i’m glad you said it for us normal ppl who r getting on with our lives but mourning the loss of this huge talent and a poor girl who lived her most vulnerable years under the pressures of being in the spotlight. The lyrics she wrote have always touched me and i was waiting for her next album as well – mostly to hear more about what she had to say..

    • Thanks, I appreciate the comment. I do mourn the victims of natural disasters and I have certainly mourned the innocent people of Norway today. I wrote this post only because of the rude tweets that pissed me off about Winehouse’s death. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have even posted.

    • @ladynthetramp All of this mourning can be avoided by not investing your life in pop culture. My life is short, I want to focus it on how I can help people, children, rather than talking about drug addict/alcoholic celebrities that have no relation to my life except a few good songs. I didn’t want to put anyone down, I want to help someone put this topic in perspective.

  8. “if you can’t sort something out for yourself, no one can help you.” Amy Winehouse

  9. I will listen to Back In Black forever. One of my all-time favorite albums. Making the argument that there are other “more important” events going on in the world doesn’t change the fact that a young, talented woman is dead long before she should be. It’s sad. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

  10. I think it is sad that people do not understand the disease of addiction. I have lost three people in my life to addiction which often goes hand in hand with mental illness. Hopefully her life will encourage millions to deal with addiction head on before it is too late.

  11. MelissaJ says:

    wow…people are cruel…i hope no one they know or perhaps even themselves ever has a battle with some sort of addiction.

    drugs, alcohol, tobacco (which is a drug), food, porn, power, money…so many ways to get “caught up” and just as many ways to be “brought down”.

    compassion folks; no one is asking you to condone the behavior; but is it seriously too much for you to muster up a bit of sympathy for her family, friends, people that loved her?

  12. Really good points friend!

  13. It is truly so very sad. Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t agree more.