Way To Go, Amy Winehouse
As The World Moans The Loss Of Amy Winehouse, Hopefully Some Will Remember How They Felt Before She Died
Amy Winehouse. Image by Rama and used under conditions of Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license..
By Brad Hamilton
Special for Modern Times Magazine
July 27, 2011 — Thanks, Amy Winehouse for a few songs and the rebirth of the beehive.
Thanks, too, for becoming an icon of what not to do, how not to be, according to the mainstream.
But most of all, thanks for simply being who you wanted to be — a rebel who pushed the limits of experience. Through her, legions of fans on fantastical level, experimented with life and drugs. Everyone has a little Winehouse in them — mainly the hell-bent, reckless, devil-may-care side of us all.
That is why she was so adored and loved, even though for most of her career, she looked like a drug-addled addict who supplemented her income by being a part-time call girl that 9 out of 10 guys would not pay $5 for a roll in the sack. Sure, she could sing — sometimes — but in a one-dimensional way that only further solidified her image as a drugged-out chick.
But thanks, most of all, Ms. Winehouse, for proving that the world only really loves drugged-out musicians and artists after they die.
Two weeks ago, mentioning Winehouse at the water cooler at work or in the pub or bar would have brought cries of slut, druggie, skank, whatever, pick the adjective.
Now, everyone is saying, “she was so talented.”
Please. She was a retread. She emulated the Ronettes and tried to sing like a cross between Ronnie Spector, Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.
It wasn’t “talent” that catapulted her to fame. There are a plethora of ladies out there that could have made the sounds she did. Her lure was the same as it is with all pop music— image sells.
But in her case, the image was the truth and in that way, she was at least honest with both herself and those that adored her. Who wants to live in a world where everyone has everything under control and no one pushes the envelope between right and wrong?
Drugs are bad and they can kill you. So are cheeseburgers and guns. But no one ever was a great music talent because of ground beef and blue steel.
Winehouse has a lot in common with other members of the ‘27 club’ — Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin. They all had the desire to find truth and a byproduct of that, sometimes, is realizing that ‘illegal’ drugs have no business being illegal.
They just thought that when they danced with the devil and sought wisdom through altered states, they could escape without paying the ultimate price.
But that was the choice that each member of the ‘27 club’ made. So be it. Who is the public to say that those were bad choices when the only chances that most of them take is whether to wear a tie to church or to cheat on their taxes?
She lived hard and died young.
So be it.
Thanks Amy Winehouse.
Brad Hamilton is a freelance writer from Tempe, Ariz.