Today (Sept. 14) Amy Winehouse, one of the purest and most troubled talents in the industry, would have turned 33 years old. While her life and career were both cut too short, the music that she left behind will live for decades to come. In remembrance of Amy, here’s a look at seven of her most iconic lyrics.
“We only said goodbye with words/ I died a hundred times/ You go back to her/ And I go back to black”
“Back to Black,” also the name of Winehouse’s final studio album, brilliantly expresses the way it feels to say “goodbye” to someone on the outside without truly being able to let them go or move on — instead, one fades to black. The song was written by Winehouse and Mark Ronson, who also produced the track.
“I always have to comfort you when I’m there/ But that’s what I need you to do, stroke my hair/ ‘cause I’ve forgotten all of young love’s joy/ Feel like a lady, and you my lady boy”
“Stronger Than Me,” from Winehouse’s debut album, Frank, is a take on dealing with the frustration of dating somebody who may be older in age, but acts immature and needs to be taken care of. The track won the prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award for Best Contemporary Song Musically and Lyrically.
“He walks away/ The sun goes down/ He takes the day/ But I’m grown/ And in your way/ In this blue shade/ My tears dry on their own”
A lesson in picking up the pieces and moving forward despite the challenges, “Tears Dry on Their Own” is a powerful song that reminds us not to sweat things we can’t control. Winehouse holds her head high and offers herself new perspective.
“If my man was fighting/ Some unholy war/ I would be behind him/ Straight shook up beside him/ With strength he didn’t know”
“Some Unholy War” is a ballad that powerfully and emotionally captures Winehouse’s willingness to stand by her man through thick and thin, giving him strength and promising that they will pull through together. “Some Unholy War” is the ninth track on Back to Black.
“Rulers one thing but come Brixton/ Nobody stands in between me and my man/‘cause it’s me and Mr. Jones”
“Me and Mr. Jones,” is widely viewed as a song about rapper Nas (Nasir Jones), who became good friends with Winehouse. The song expresses her frustration with a friend who made her miss the Slick Rick concert, but that nothing will stand in the way of her and Mr. Jones.
“They tried to make me go to rehab/ I said, no, no, no/ Yes, I been black/ But when I come back, you’ll know, know, know”
“Rehab,” the lead single from Back to Black, turned Winehouse from a lesser-known soul singer to a mainstream act. The song, now bittersweet for many, chronicles the days when people around the singer encouraged her to seek treatment for addiction while she insisted that it was unnecessary, both in the song and in real life. The track peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“This face in my dreams seizes my guts/ He floods me with dread/ Soaked in soul/ He swims in my eyes by the bed/ Pour myself over him/ Moon spilling in/ And I wake up alone”
The heart-wrenching eighth track on Back To Black conveys the intense yearning and suffering that Amy feels as she tries to keep herself busy during the day but is painfully reminded of her loneliness as the sun goes down. The imagery, something Winehouse was brilliant at creating, is stunning.