You're Wrong About - Amy Winehouse with Eve Lindley

Episode Date: November 14, 2023

This week, celebrity correspondent Eve Lindley tells Sarah about why we should all be thankful for Amy Winehouse. Note: this episode depicts struggles with eating disorders, addiction and self harm. listen with care. We are thankful for you, too.You can find Princess on Instagram here.Support You're Wrong About:Bonus Episodes on PatreonBuy cute merchWhere else to find us:Sarah's other show, You Are Good[YWA co-founder] Mike's other show, Maintenance PhaseLinks: the show

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Amy Honey, he's just a guy. Hit him with your car. [♪ OUTRO MUSIC PLAYING [♪ Welcome to You Wrong About. I'm Sarah Marshall and this week we are talking about Amy Winehouse with Evelyn Lee. Evelyn Lee is a friend of the show. She is a star of the show. She is a star of station screen and she is telling us today the story of Amy Winehouse. So I know many of
Starting point is 00:00:30 you have heard of but if you really have no idea the basics are that Amy Winehouse was an amazing powerhouse singer who became famous very young, struggled publicly with addiction issues and also died for two young at the age of 27. So like the story of any woman in the spotlight, this is as much a story about her as it is a story about media of the time, the 2000s during which she became famous. We have, as you might imagine, multiple trigger warnings for this episode. We talk about eating disorders, we talk about self-harm, we talk about addiction, and we talk about someone who ultimately didn't make it very far through those struggles.
Starting point is 00:01:16 And so this may or may not be the right episode for you in this moment. And whether or not it is, we love you, and we hope you find something great to listen to today. This episode was regularly meant to be a two-parter. We ended up just going for it and doing it in one session. So this is a long one. I hope you're listening to this while doing something fun or that it helps you get through something tedious. We've got some fun bonus content for you. If you're on Apple plus subscriptions or if you are our friend on Patreon, you can listen to a bunch of bonus episodes
Starting point is 00:01:51 we've done the most recent is a bonus with Kelsey Weber Smith on Urban Legions and also the movie Urban Legion from 1998. It was a really fun one. I hope you enjoy it if you listen. Kelsey and I are also doing a holiday show down at the Aladdin in Portland. It is unfortunately already sold out, but we are excited to bring you a massive say on the co production of your wrong about Chelsea's podcast American hysteria and the spirit world with music by the little lies. We hope it's a new holiday tradition that we got to enjoy with you. In her notes for this intro, Carolyn has written for me to say happy November or something and that's the best I can say about
Starting point is 00:02:39 November. It's a month that we're all just trying to kind of get through most of us unless November is the best month for whether where you live. But happy November is something. We're getting through it. And now here's the episode. And according to, Amy Winehouse's next album, Future Songs About Cooking, About Cooking. That's what they say. Cooking, Crystal Winehouse's next album, Future Songs About Cooking, About Cooking. That's what they say.
Starting point is 00:03:05 Cooking Crystal Math, Black Tart. There it is. There it is. The best female pop vocal performance, Amy Winehouse for rehab. Woo! Woo! Woo!
Starting point is 00:03:17 Woo! Can somebody wake her up this afternoon around six and tell her? Amy Winehouse. Well, what is, you know YouTube, the thing on the computer, YouTube. Yeah, well, she put some footage up there. Now, Amy Winehouse, and she's like a mad person. LAUGHTER
Starting point is 00:03:35 She was playing with some baby mice, with this guy, Peak Dockety. Now, he's a mad person. LAUGHTER With the little mouse, she said a message to her husband Blake who's in prison and a mad person. LAUGHTER Now, this is real. This is Amy Winehouse
Starting point is 00:03:56 sending a message to her husband Blake. OK. This is a real baby mouse. So, I've got a message. Blake. Blake. Blake. This is a real baby mouse. Thank you. Thank you. Please don't divorce me.
Starting point is 00:04:10 She loves you ever so. Yeah. Why would you divorce that? It's weird. Welcome to your wrong about the podcast where sometimes we try to make you feel like a little kid watching e-true Hollywood story in 1999. But hopefully a little bit less sensationalistically and we're not selling pet eggs. And with me today is the one, the only Eve Lindley. Hello, Sarah Marshall.
Starting point is 00:04:53 Hello, Eve. Ah, and from now on all about Eve. I made that joke before I'll make it again. Honestly, it's a joke that will follow me around my whole life. It's a great joke. I'm really happy. I'm happy for that to be my joke. Yeah, I, in elementary school, the words Sarah Plain and Tall came up, unfortunately, quite
Starting point is 00:05:13 often, which is just, hmm. So Eve, we are talking today about Amy Winehouse, who I remember always kind of at the periphery of my concousness because she had a couple of really big hits. She was really big culturally, unbelievably talented as a singer, and also somebody who in the vein of Anacole Smith, a lot of people enjoyed just kind of speculating on the out of itness of and doing so in a way that kind of never seemed to acknowledge that she was in real danger. Or maybe it did, but in a way where it was like, ha ha ha. If someone wasn't around or has no memory of this, like, can you talk about Amy Winehouse's
Starting point is 00:06:00 whole vibe? Because like, I mean, as far as I can tell, there was absolutely nobody else in mainstream pop music who nobody at that level of fame who was doing something like what she was doing at the time. Yeah. And I think that that actually ended up being part of her unraveling is it's like this is a girl who grew up wanting to be a jazz musician and wanting to sing in these little tiny, you know, intimate jazz clubs. A sheet of family of musicians. Her uncles were professional jazz musicians and her grandmother Cynthia, who she was like very, very close to, was a jazz singer who dated Ronnie Scott, who was a club owner in the 1940s. You know, she never expected to be famous.
Starting point is 00:06:46 She never expected to be world famous and she literally is quoted as saying, like my music is not big, it's not on that level. Like, I mean, this was at the time where like Britney Spears was like a global phenomenon and it's like these two women were doing completely different things, you know? Yeah. I mean, how can a jazz singer fill the same stage that a like theatrical production,
Starting point is 00:07:13 like Britney Spears kind of fill that space in that stage? Yeah. And Britney was so like she had so clearly been sort of constructed and packaged by the pop music machine. And what she did was, you know, it was very dance oriented. It was a lot of kind of engineered publicity moments. Yeah, Britney was a product. And that's not a bad thing. I love Britney Spears.
Starting point is 00:07:39 Right. And to a certain degree, all musicians or products, right? Like there is Taylor Swift, the person, of course, and then there is Taylor Swift, the product, and the act, you know, like they're not mutually exclusive, they're not completely different, they certainly overlap, but you know, one is a product, a distinct product that needs to generate sales.
Starting point is 00:08:05 And one of them is a person with feelings and relationships and in the case of someone like Amy, I don't think that she really ever cared about the product. I think she cared about it in the moments where it was fun and it was like fun to get dressed up and I don't even know how much of, she had this friend named Naomi Perry, who was her stylist, who really ushered in her look, the liner and the hair, the knowledge bump.
Starting point is 00:08:36 And I think that that was always fun for Amy, but I don't think she ever really realized that it was a perfect recipe for selling herself, you know? Like there is this theory called the silhouette theory, which is that like if you black somebody out completely and you only see their silhouette, if you can tell who that person is, then they are an icon. So like if I gave you a blacked out photo of Elvis Presley, because of the hair, because of maybe a certain outfit you would know who it was. There are many, many people who are able to put that to the test, and I think Amy is one of them, certainly. This is the other thing about Amy that is fascinating to me,
Starting point is 00:09:21 is she only did two albums. She has one that was released and forgive me, I only ever read this word. Is it posthumously? Yeah, as far as I know. As in like after death, she has that one which is called Lioness, which is also a great album and most of it is like B-sides from her previous albums. But she really only has two albums. Like she became this huge icon and sort of changed music and ushered in all these sort of copycat acts based on two albums, which I think is, I mean, that's crazy to me.
Starting point is 00:09:57 That's insanity. Yeah, it makes me think of James Dean. Yeah, exactly. Fully like a live fast, die young, change the world's kind of I. Yeah, and also like leave this incredibly truncated career. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:10:13 What can we talk about like wherever the story begins in your opinion and also just like, you know, how did her career get started? I'm curious about, because whenever someone wants to do something small and ends up doing something big, that's always interesting. So she was born September 14th, 1983, this year would have been her 40th birthday. I mean, it's crazy.
Starting point is 00:10:38 She's been gone for 13 years. And she was born in like a suburb of North London. She's an older brother named Alex. And they were just very much like a middle class English family. And her dad was a taxi driver. Her mother was a pharmacist. There was always, as I said before, there was like always music around her as a kid. And her dad would sing Frank Sinatra to her. Her grandmother was a singer. She was very close with her grandmother. And she was just sort of like your classic, disruptive young girl. They called her Hurricane Amy and she went to all these performing arts schools and there's a story that she got expelled from one of them. And I think the story is she got expelled for like having a nose ring, you know, like she was a bad girl.
Starting point is 00:11:31 She was like larger than life personality and like very in your face. And there's this great documentary which I of course watched to get ready for this called Amy. It's filled with a lot of information, but what's really amazing about it, you know, Amy, so let me see. So she's 10 years older than me. And I don't know what it is about that generation. I guess it's like, because I had the same access to cameras as they did, but there's something about that generation that like there is so much footage of them. Yeah. It's like, I think they got cameras as teenagers, and so they just started filming everything.
Starting point is 00:12:08 So there's footage of her at a random birthday party as at 13, and the whole documentary is found footage and voiceover. There's never a sit-down interview where somebody is talking into the camera. It's all clips and footage of her. There is so much footage of this woman. People, teachers were always sort of impressed by her because she was like, she was good at it. Like she could have done it if she set her mind to it,
Starting point is 00:12:38 but she just did not care for school. And she was just too rebellious for it. And like, people would know that she was smart and see that she was a good writer, but you know, there was no way to make her, I guess really apply herself. So she dropped out when she was 16 and she just started singing and performing around London like bands.
Starting point is 00:13:03 She was in this band called The Bolsheshaband, and she was a female vocalist for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Wow. That sounds official. I mean, her voice is so unique and so emotive. And one of my favorite clips that sort of illustrates this, I'm sending to you right now. I'm very excited. And I would love for you to watch it and describe it and talk about what you pick up on. Okay. All right, I'm you too. I love you too. I love you too.
Starting point is 00:13:46 I love you too. I love you too. I love you too. I love you too. I love you too. I love you too. I love you too. That's so great.
Starting point is 00:14:02 It's like so the essence of being like 13 or 14 at the start, right? It's like these kids goofing off at a birthday thing. And then it's like, and it's also so great because it feels to me pretty clear that like you're watching Amy like showing off and showing off her beautiful voice, which she should be showing off. It's a bunch of teenagers singing Happy Birthday and then one of them sort of takes the lead, I guess you could say, and all of the other ones sort of stop and listen to her saying because she's that good. I think of her as somebody who's at odds with her own self and her own talent and her own body, and this is like a moment before any of that. Yeah. You know, hopefully, maybe if you look at this, you do sort of get the feeling that like that's a girl who is like
Starting point is 00:14:55 confident and like knows what she's got and is like ready to strut her stuff. Like your teens are so complicated but like I do remember as a younger teenage you're having like a certain amount of like audacity. Yeah. Cause so much of what the world wants to teach you, just hasn't had time to sink in yet, maybe. Yeah. And you know, the girls in that video kind of remain her friends for the rest of her life, which is also really heartwarming. Yeah. And there are some spats and issues. And, you know, Amy was, you know, an imperfect person and an imperfect friend, but they basically
Starting point is 00:15:32 remain in her life until the end, which I think is so rare. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, so this clip, the reason why I say that it appears to be a time before Amy is at odds with her self. There are so many clips that we've seen well into her career where she will give a performance and she'll just be really hard on herself for it. And sometimes, you know, she might have been under the influence during the performance. And sometimes you watch the performance, like there's a clip of her performing with Tony
Starting point is 00:16:10 Bennett, who's like one of her idols. And she just keeps stopping and being like, I'm so sorry, I don't want to waste your time. I'm so sorry. Like that was shit. That was horrible. Let me do it again. You can't really be that talented and that good at one thing without it kind of creating a complex, I think.
Starting point is 00:16:31 And you know, trigger warning, when Amy was 15, she started binging and purging. And her mother has says that one day Amy came up to her and said, I have this amazing diet mom. I can eat whatever I want and then I just bring it all back up and her mother did not know what to do and seemingly nobody in her life knew what to do. And a lot of people thought she would grow out of it. Her brother has a quote after she died that was basically like, you know, all the little girls in Amy's grade were throwing up their meals, but they all grew out of it and Amy just never grew out of it. And I don't want to like, vilify her brother here, but And I don't want to like, vilify her brother here. But when I read that quote, I was like, what are you talking about?
Starting point is 00:17:28 All little girls are throwing up their food. I have, there's this crazy thing that you see with parents sometimes where it's like, oh, they're just doing this for attention. Yeah. And I'm like, okay, that's fine. Give them the attention. Like, the line they're just doing this for attention is so crazy to me.
Starting point is 00:17:48 Because it's like, yeah, probably. So now you give them the attention. And you like sort through the problem. You know what I mean? As opposed to just being like, they're doing this for attention and I'm not gonna give it to them. And it's like, why shouldn't they get attention?
Starting point is 00:18:03 Don't they need that? It seems like they need it. Like, it to them. And it's like, why shouldn't they get attention? Don't they need that? It seems like they need it. Like it seems like they want it and they deserve it. You know, they're deserving of it, you know. Right, I know this idea that like teenagers are at war with adults, I think. I think adults are at war with teenagers
Starting point is 00:18:20 and teenagers are just trying to have an okay life, really. What happened to her is no one's fault and also everyone's fault, you know what I mean? And that includes her. There's no one moment where you're like, and this is the moment that her fate was sealed or whatever. Although we try to do that in biopics.
Starting point is 00:18:40 Oh, well, exactly, of course. Yeah. To make sense of things, you know, when you lose someone young to an accident or an overdose or whatever, it's like you do sort of have to create a story in your head where you can kind of become determined with it and understand it or something. But like, we talked about this in the Vicki Morgan episode. It's like, sometimes there is no poetic license. Sometimes there is no way of smoothing it all over
Starting point is 00:19:10 and shaping it into a sculpture that is nice to look at. Yeah, sometimes you just end up with a house full of stuff and there's not a linear narrative to make out of it necessarily. Yeah. Yeah. So anyhow, she's dropped out of school. She's sort of around London singing and like having the time of her life really.
Starting point is 00:19:33 So she finally gets signed to Simon and Fuller, which is a management company. And they manage the space girls and Annie Lennox and a friend of hers who's still a working musician, his name is Tyler James and he was actually on the voice. He introduces Amy to a manager there named Nicholas Shamanski. I'm probably pronouncing that wrong. You're doing your best and that's what's important. Thank you. So she signs and she's given studio time to make a demo and she's making 250 pounds a week and she's like, I am living my life. Like I am loving this. And Simon and Fuller is like
Starting point is 00:20:17 developing her act and like, you know, honing her skills. She's only 19. She's obviously very good, but you know, she needs some guidance here and there and finding her sound. And while they're doing this, they like are trying to keep her secret. And I think it's because they know that she's going to like really take London by storm. Nobody is thinking of like global fame, but everyone is thinking like city famous, you know, like like the Beatles and Liverpool in 1962 was a nice situation. Yeah, and for someone like Amy who wants to sing jazz, that's the best case scenario. They're keeping her secret or so they think
Starting point is 00:20:56 because she is of course a rebel by nature and she's going out at night to jazz clubs and she's singing standards. And then there's this guy named Darkest Bees. No. Yes, which is such a good name. There's really such a thing as being too British. I know, right? Darkest Bees.
Starting point is 00:21:17 I know, incredible. Somebody shows him a video of another musician. Like they're like, look at this guitar player or whatever. And Amy is singing with that musician and he's like, well, wait a minute, who the fuck is that? And he like, apparently can't get a straight answer because she's like, you know, being kept a secret or whatever and he will not let it go.
Starting point is 00:21:44 And so eventually he finds out who she is. And he's from island records. And so he wants to sign her. And then there's also interest from virgin records and EMI records. And these are all just like big record companies, you know? I don't know like the ins and outs of the music industry. It's not my wheelhouse.
Starting point is 00:22:03 But basically, there's like a bidding war for this 19 year old girl and everybody wants to sign her. Well, how does she react to that? Do we know? I mean, I don't know. I don't have a quote, but from what I've gathered about her, she was just excited to have her own apartment. Like, she was making 250 pounds a week, and she was like, she does have a quote that she's like, I just wanted to sit in my own flat to write songs all day and play loud music and smoke weed because you can't do that in your mom's house. Like I think she is just like, I'm chilling, I'm 19 years old. I want to like smoke weed and hang out with my friends and like do that 19 year old shit. When I was 19 I think my dream was also to have my own apartment but to be able to go
Starting point is 00:22:53 sit in a bar and drink red wine and write for like hours and hours and that was like my idea of heaven. And and lately I've been like, why don't I do that? That's all I wanted and I never do that now. Yeah, I mean, you literally have the power to live the life that you dreamed at 19, you know? Yeah, think about that you guys. And that's, oh my God, that's the scariest thing because then I'm like, well, I'm not living without life.
Starting point is 00:23:21 So what does that say about me? Did I ever really want it, you know? Yeah, and I guess, and I think that I like, I really did want it, but net and it's like life gets so crowded. Right. And often like your idea of what adulthood, with the freedom it will give you, is like pretty small when you're a teenager
Starting point is 00:23:35 and maybe more of us should go back to that. Yeah. I kind of knew who I was as a kid and as an early teen. And then like somewhere in my late teens, things got crowded. My early twenties, they got even more crowded. And like the last like three years has just been a process of trying to get back
Starting point is 00:23:59 to the things I knew about myself when I was 11 and 13. You know what I mean? And 15, I'm eagerly trying to be that girl again. She just knew what was going on. Like she wasn't concerned with like the shit that me at 25 was like trying to be, you know, thin or trying to be palatable or trying to be, you know, the bullshit that you try to be. Anyhow, so there's this bidding war, Amy signs a publishing deal with EMI and a record deal with Island records. And so this guy, Darkis Bees, who sort of, I think his interest in her kind of drummed it all up. And so he says
Starting point is 00:24:40 that the real excitement he felt over her was that she was, and he called her a pop star already. He said she was an a typical pop star for the time. And that the interest around her was in direct sort of opposition to all of the reality TV music shows at the time, because on those shows, you would find someone who was, you know, safe from like North London and like a little sloppy and like a little rougher on the edges. And the whole process of the show would be to polish them up.
Starting point is 00:25:11 And what Darkis and others really admired about Amy was she didn't need to be polished. Like she was polish remover. So she signs the steal and she gets to work on Frank and she's like listening to all her favorite jazz musicians, you know, like she loved Nina Simone, she loved Tony Bennett. There's a lot of that on Frank, there's a lot of that soul and like R&B. And this was at a time where like the top albums were all coming out of America and they were stuff for women. They were stuff like in the zone by Britney and like dangerously in love by Beyoncé. Like they were extremely polished and extremely not auto-tuned. And well, they probably were auto-tuned, but they were like clearly made in a computer. You know what I mean? And Amy puts out Frank and hates that there's one song called, I think, Put It in the Box. And it's got strings on it that are not real.
Starting point is 00:26:12 Like they're, you know, synthetic. They're from a computer. And she is like out of her mind upset about it. And it's like, that's very Tom waits of her. You know, I don't want to say that like, Amy's a real artist and anyone who used, you know, fake strings is not a real artist because I don't feel that way. You know, I love those two albums I mentioned, Beyonce and Brittany are great albums.
Starting point is 00:26:35 I loved them. I was listening to them at the time. But there is something so just darling to me about this girl. We used fake strings. Like like that's ruining the whole album. Yeah, like that's my whole vibe is off. Like when the album comes out, it does really well. People like it and she's praised for her originality and she's an amazing songwriter and obviously
Starting point is 00:27:00 she has this gifted voice. And immediately people are like, she reminds me of these girl groups of the 60s. And she wasn't like, I don't think that it was like in Back to Black where she was really kind of putting that forth in a direct way. There is something about the way she writes that is so honest. and it kind of reminds me of those groups because it's like, it's talking about love and it's talking about sort of like the desire to be loved back, the hopelessness and the disappointment when you feel like you're not loved back. And that there's obviously so much music that deals with that, but I think at that time, we were really in like whatever wave of feminism we were in.
Starting point is 00:27:50 And so the music was like, it was about being a hot slut in the city and being like whatever, you know, like men, I don't need them. And then Amy was there being like, you know, my heart is crumbling because you won't look at me. I am like literally like a moth to the flame, you know, my heart is crumbling because you won't look at me. I am like literally like a moth to the flame.
Starting point is 00:28:08 You know, like it's that honesty of those parts of yourself that you don't really want to recognize, I guess. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Because it's embarrassing to need someone. It's embarrassing to want someone. We all want to be the hot bitch in the city who's like, I don't need you. Yeah, I'm happy you say that because I feel like from the beginning, like,
Starting point is 00:28:31 embarrassed to have crushes, embarrassed about crushes, embarrassed about like wanting to actively pursue not being alone because despite basically everyone seeking out relationships and agreeing that it's normal and that it's abnormal to not do that, it still feels like embarrassing to admit that you need or want more than you have to me. I'm going to get a little personal here. There's so many people who are in open relationships right now. And for some reason, a lot of people who are in open relationships seem to wander into my life and wanna be around me and want to have me
Starting point is 00:29:16 as one of their partners or hook up whatever. And I really kind of thought for a while, I was like, well, I should be so lucky. Like this guy is great. And like, I like being around him. And so I'm a settle for being like one of his conquests. And like, recently I was like, I don't want that. Like, I want to be in love.
Starting point is 00:29:37 I want to like, what does Carrie say? She's like, I want head over heels. I am someone who is looking for love. I mean, like, really? I mean, I want that, you know, I want to be crazy in love as a certain Beyonce Giselle Knowles would say. You don't want to be in a three way relationship with a lighting installation.
Starting point is 00:30:01 Exactly. And I just, I just feel like Amy was saying that, you know, she was singing about that. And almost in a way that could be borderline unhealthy. You know, like we all kind of have to check ourselves and be like, okay, well, yes, I wanna be in love, but you need to have other things going on in your life, of course.
Starting point is 00:30:20 That's what I want actually is like an over the top, like 90s power ball about love song about like Being so in love but also having hobbies and like friends and stuff right right You know she was still local at this time like this album wasn't even released in the US until 2007 you know, but She became you know the pride of The UK people loved her.
Starting point is 00:30:45 This album won. She won Best Female Solo Artist, Best British Urban Act at the Brit Awards. She was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize. She won an Ivoire Novello Award. You know, like she became the charming, funny, heartfelt girl from London. and everybody loved her. And this was sort of the beginning of her life as a famous person,
Starting point is 00:31:11 and the beginning of the British tabloid show. You know, her life, not just her music as entertainment, but her life as entertainment. And she was called Hurricane Amy as a kid, and she was hurricane Amy as an adult. She was 19 years old. She never really, I mean, this is sort of the age where you come to terms with and figure out what your relationship will be like to alcohol and to all of those things, whatever it is you're doing. And I think at this point, she was just drinking alcohol and smoking weed. So Amy is in Camden, Camden is known for its vintage stores and flea markets and there's a lot of musical history there. It's like the Bohemian mecca and this is sort of a huge influence on her
Starting point is 00:31:57 like artistic identity and certainly her style which I could talk about her style for hours. Give us at least a few minutes. This does feel so important. Okay, well this is also when she meets Naomi Perry. And the story is that they're both out at a nightclub and they're both in the mirror back combing their hair in the bathroom doing like a little like bouffant. Perfect.
Starting point is 00:32:22 So when she meets Naomi Perry, she eventually hires her as a stylist. And I mean, stylistically at the time, she is peerless. Nobody is doing like what even is it? It's like punk, but and rockabilly and indieslees and and Tuy and scaw and like it's a smattering of genres of style and music, all kind of coming together. She obviously loved the 50s and loved vintage style, loved vintage music, and push it to the envelope. Certainly if you're a musician, pushing it bigger and bigger,
Starting point is 00:32:56 and the skirts should be shorter, and the tits should be bigger, and the winged liner should get bigger, and really, really see how far you can go. And that was sort of, you know, the fashion world clearly took notice of Amy. And even today, we see her as a style inspiration in fashion shows. And and and that kind of goes back to the silhouette theory is it's like, if you see me with a bit of a bufant
Starting point is 00:33:26 and a winged liner, you're probably gonna be like, oh, like, were you listening to Amy Winehouse today? You know, like, she just owned this look that I love so much. I mean, I wish that I could wear it every day, you know? What, what are you like about it personally? She's painting in primary colors and in one way I mean literally she's wearing like yellow and red, you know like she's literally wearing the primary colors
Starting point is 00:33:53 It's the boldness of the silhouettes and for somebody who's saying so much about Wanting and needing men This look is not appealing to men. You know what I mean? Like, there is something about what Amy is doing. It's just sort of like not interested in being hot, even when it's hot. It's not interested in being hot.
Starting point is 00:34:19 Because when I look at her, it's like she has, and I say this is somebody who grew up looking not that different from her. Like big nose, big features like she has, and I say this is somebody who grew up looking not that different from her, like big nose, big features, big face, big presence. And it feels like the look that she chose, like, emphasized all of that and made her bigger, right? And made her eyes bigger and her hair is huge. And it's just like such a loud, taking up space thing that feels almost like a reaction against
Starting point is 00:34:47 the memo that you get as an adolescent girl that like you really need to be constantly making yourself smaller for male consumption. This is another kind of interesting dichotomy about her. It's like we know that she had a needing disorder. We know that she had addiction issues. I don't mean to say that. It's at odds with her eating disorder, but like, well, but I don't know. I see what you're saying.
Starting point is 00:35:14 I feel like it's like the ways that we inflict on our bodies, what we feel about ourselves are like, I feel like often contradict each other or complicate each other. And maybe this this could be that or you know, who knows? Because we don't, it's all speculation. But yeah, it does feel like within the same body, you find ways of both minimizing yourself and taking up more space. Yeah. I think also something about what Amy did that was probably the most divisive, you know, was that it was all sloppy. Again, it wasn't polished. And I think that was
Starting point is 00:35:55 what was divisive about it from a fashion standpoint. And from even like a consumer standpoint, it's like, it's not perfectly done. The ends of her hair are like a consumer standpoint is it's like it's not perfectly done the ends of her hair or like a little fried, you know, like, and I love that. Like I think that that is what is uniquely her. And the fact that people were so divided also makes it, you know, more powerful to me because when everyone likes something, it's boring. So her style is emerging. You know, she's being introduced to higher-end brands and emerging designers. And this is also where she meets Blake Fielder-Saville. Yes, who is a huge player in this story. They meet at a pub, of course. They are both seeing someone else at the time, which is not to say that they did anything wrong, but just context. And they just sort of are drawn to each other in a way that I think was
Starting point is 00:36:56 super powerful for her. I mean, from what I've researched, it's like every relationship she had ever had was very powerful for her. Like she's somebody who threw herself into these relationships. But this was maybe the first time that she was like flush with money and living on her own and had an album under her belt and like was really feeling herself, you know. She could throw herself into a relationship and also throw some money at the relationship and like it could really go somewhere. And her and Blake sort of add to the paparazzi frenzy because they are, they're a little turbulent, they're on and off, they're found like fighting in the street sometimes like,
Starting point is 00:37:41 you know, they really, from the beginning it seems like the relationship was just a little up and down. And she also has a great quote that she says, when I fell in love with Blake, there was a lot of 60s music all around us, which will, of course, come back to us when we talk about back to black, which we are about to enter the Back to Black era. Oh my God. There are, I think, three or four years between Frank and Back to Black. So she is just sort of like putzing around London, being a hot bitch in the city. And the years are a little tumultuous.
Starting point is 00:38:21 And you know, these are the years that inspire Back to Black. And one of one of the main things that happens is that her grandmother Cynthia dies, who was a jazz singer, Amy felt very, very close to her. And that sort of plunges Amy into a bit of a depression. And she's drinking a lot, her eating disorder is a little out of control. And Blake also gets back together
Starting point is 00:38:46 with his ex-girlfriend that he was dating when they met. And that, of course, pushes her over the edge. She goes a little reclusive and her friends show up at her apartment and it's sort of in squalor. And this is sort of like a key moment where her Manager at the time Nick Shamansky Sits her down and says like hey like this album that you've been working on could be really big and like What you're doing is not working and she admits to having a problem She says that she's lost and she agrees to go to rehab. Her friends, the ones that we saw in that video, the Happy Birthday video are all very supportive and
Starting point is 00:39:32 excited. Then they tell her father, Mitch, that she's going to go to rehab. And he knows that she's got this album that she's sort of been working on already. But he basically says like, she doesn't need to go to rehab. She just needs to focus on her new album. In the documentary, Amy, this is sort of considered like the crucial moment. This was before she was globally famous. She had a little bit of press in London, but it was basically manageable.
Starting point is 00:40:08 But Blake was out of her life. She could have gone to rehab. She could have gotten clean. And then the flip side of that is like, we maybe never would have gotten back to black. I think back to black is a perfect album. It's probably one of my top five favorite albums of all time. I guess like what was the cost?
Starting point is 00:40:28 And like, and I guess what was the cost of it happening at that moment, you know, because I feel like, right, could she have made this perfect album five years later? You know, could she have, you know, like I think, yeah, I don't think that you have to create from pain. Pain is part of the human experience. And there's insight and information there, but in terms of creating while in a state of pain, I don't think pain helps,
Starting point is 00:40:51 unless you're driven to distract yourself from your condition, but yeah. And I think that the differences are you swimming upstream or downstream. Like you will get to land no matter what. And in this case, like land is like the piece that you're working on. And like it might be like slightly different land,
Starting point is 00:41:12 you know, it might have different flowers on one island than the other, but it's like if you're swimming upstream against the tide, it's just gonna be so much harder to get there. Yeah. That quote, that line of like, if we had saved her, we maybe never would have gotten back to black has always been haunting to me because I don't know. I don't know that it's true and I don't know. I don't know what the people in her life had to tell themselves to justify
Starting point is 00:41:40 what happened, you know. Yeah. And how clearly were they able to see it at the time? Right. She has a quote from this time where she says she was waking up, drinking and crying, listening to the Shangri-La's, going to sleep, waking up, drinking, crying, and listening to the Shangri-La's. And she wanted to turn all of that into her own songs. And that was how she got through it. And for people who don't know, like the Shangri-La's are a very important girl group, who I feel like their best known song is probably leader of the pack. Would you agree with that?
Starting point is 00:42:18 Yeah, I would say so, yeah. Which contains the iconic line. They told me he was bad, but I knew he was sad. Right. And that's just everything. As we'll see, you know, Amy's relationship with Blake, you know, who she eventually gets a tattoo of Blake's name over her heart. I don't know what her attraction to him was, but I think it had something to do with like thinking that she understood him. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:42:50 And you can imagine after he left her, she's listening to this song, The Leader of the Pack and just crying and drinking and like it all sort of makes sense, you know, to her. Girl group songs are like such a special genre, you know, and to me that's probably to most people that's like the run-ups, the crystals, the charelles, like the stuff you hear parodied in the chorus and little shop of horrors are on the dirty dancing soundtrack and right, right, the supreme's of course, and like these beautiful songs made by women who were for the most part in contracts that were using them and not paying them nearly as much as they deserved.
Starting point is 00:43:30 Were these really powerful musicians or for the most part singing about like complete desolation, you know, joy or sadness, but all of it being completely dependent on what your boyfriend is doing. Yeah, and I'm not saying that's anti-feminist. I'm saying that reflects reality and it's a lot of reality to take in and experience. There are so many videos of her and Blake walking together around London. And there's just something so relatable about the emphasis that she places on him. Like, she is so pulled to him.
Starting point is 00:44:05 And it's not something she's saying. It's just like in the body language, where she is so like, you know, one step behind him, but they're sort of in the same stride. And like you can just see this like magnetic pull. And there's, you know, later on, there's like a clip of her performing at some award show and she like
Starting point is 00:44:26 finishes performing and the, you know, the announcer, the host sort of comes out and is like, Amy, why not? How's everybody? And the crowd's going wild and she doesn't even seem to notice it because she is so, she's so fixated on getting off that stage and getting to Blake and kissing him. Well, and where do you fit this in with the rest of her life, I guess? I'm in, yeah, how does this relationship seem to be affecting her generally? I think her friends don't like him. There's a lot of people in her life at this point that are concerned with Amy Winehouse, the product, and the people who are concerned with Amy Winehouse the product and the people who are concerned with Amy Winehouse the person don't seem to like him. But we're getting ahead of ourselves because after this pseudo intervention
Starting point is 00:45:14 where her father says she doesn't need to go to rehab, Amy goes to Miami and begins to work on back to black. And she actually changes managers. So Nick Shamancki, who sort of spearheaded that mini intervention before, is no longer in her life. He will be back, though, in a major way. But she changes managers. She throws herself into this new album. She's not with Blake at the moment. And she is leaning into this jukebox, duop, Motown, sort of sound. And she's really going for these, these grow group, the inspiration of the grow groups.
Starting point is 00:45:53 And all of this was in Frank, you know, the foundations were there and people really noticed it, but she really turned it all up. And this is where she meets Mark Ronson, who is, you know, a hitmaker. And they have a lovely working relationship. And they get to work on back to black. And everybody talks about how easy it was to make this album.
Starting point is 00:46:15 Certainly comparatively to Frank, where like, you know, Amy was upset about the fake strings. And you know, like she was really kind of precious about everything. This album, like poured out of of her which is incredible to me. It reminds me of everyone says that Dolly Parton wrote Jo-Leen and I will always love you on the same day. And apparently in five days she wrote rehab back to black you know I'm no good. Love is a losing game. God like all of the hits, you know, and it was a fun experience too. I don't know if she was I don't think she was sober. You know, I mean, I think she did have like a enough of a work ethic that she Was focusing on making the album and basically they would work from midday until dinner time and Amy would cook
Starting point is 00:47:06 for everyone. She was like a great cook. Isn't that sweet? I had no idea. Yeah. She would make like meatballs and pastas and like everybody loved working on it. And Mark Ronson, they did six tracks together. They did rehab back to black. You know I I'm no good. Love is a losing game. Wake up alone and he can only hold her. And it he says it was like magic in a way that he never experienced since. And the story of rehab that he tells is literally they were just hanging out walking around the city. She she worked with him in New York City. They're walking around the city. She worked with him in New York City. They're walking around the city and they're just talking about life. And she's like, yeah, well, you know, they tried to make me go to rehab. And I was like, no, no, no. And, and, and Mark goes, wait a minute. Say that again. And, then, and he was literally just like, that would be such a fun little gimmick and like a cool lyric and that became the song.
Starting point is 00:48:08 You know, and there's also the line, if my daddy thinks I'm fine. And that is interesting. And Nick Shimanski, you know, when that song hits the radios, he does sort of talk about being very conflicted because he's like, wow, she's sort of making a joke out of this very real thing in her life and in my life. Like, we wanted her to go to rehab. Yeah, my God. This is like when I heard of Amy Winehouse, you know, like I was probably in middle school, this song hit The Airwaves and like rehab
Starting point is 00:48:41 was sort of a hot button topic because like, Lindsay Lohan was going to rehab and Britney Spears was going to rehab and like rehab was sort of a hot button topic because Lindsay Lohan was going to rehab and Britney Spears was going to rehab and rehab was so hot in the early 2000s. It was like a giant cultural meme, I almost feel like it. You know, I was a kid, so I didn't really get the seriousness
Starting point is 00:48:59 of what was happening, not to take any blame off of me. I'm sure I added to the weird culture around her and this song, but it is very fascinating to see that like as this song permeates and as people start to learn more about her and things start to happen to her in the press, like the joke of Amy Winehouse and rehab. Yeah. It's like it started immediately. You know, it's like she set herself up for these cruel jokes. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:49:36 You know, rehab makes her a commercial star. This is when she goes to, she becomes a household name. She's notably very uncomfortable with this. Like she has always said she did not want to be huge. This was not what she expected. She wanted to be a jazz singer. Suddenly, with rehab being so big, guess who is back in her life? Oh God, Blake.
Starting point is 00:50:00 Knock, knock, knock, it's Blake. Knock, knock, knock, it's Blake. Knock, knock, knock, and on Amy's door. They are almost immediately engaged. She's done this whole American press tour with rehab, and you know I'm no good, and like, you know, it really kind of hit America in this major way, and he accompanied her on the press tour. That was when they kind of got back together,
Starting point is 00:50:21 and then they returned to Camden together. And it is widely assumed that this is the moment that she tries a crack and heroin for the first time. Oh, how come? Well Blake, I think it was a part of his life. And it's sort of assumed and I think he has confirmed that he got her into it, you know? And I think that they always, as a couple, exhibited like addictive behavior and, you know, they were very volatile and, you know, all of that. But this is sort of another key moment where it's like they latch onto each other and they just sort of start spinning out of control.
Starting point is 00:51:06 I'm not blaming him alone. I do sort of always get the feeling that everyone in this girl's life who was supposed to take care of her with very few exceptions did not take care of her. But like I don't know these people, I don't know, you know, what they were dealing with. And like I'm sure we've all been, you know, made bad decisions with somebody who needed our help. Like, I, you know, we can't blame anyone person, right? Yeah. But so she's back in Camden.
Starting point is 00:51:35 She's performing. This is when she starts like performing under the influence. Mm-hmm. And there's so much heartbreaking footage of this time and there's so much heartbreaking footage of this time because she's like performing rehab while clearly drunk or high, and it's like this weird battle cry of like, ha ha, like I'm not going, you know, like even now, even as you're watching me sort of fumble,
Starting point is 00:52:04 I will not go. And then people start really seeing a difference in her, in her physically, in her emotionally, and she overdoses and has a seizure. And doctors basically say that she's very small. There's been a lot of damage done to her body, you know, damage from her eating disorder and damage from her drinking. And if she has another seizure, she will die. Oh, God.
Starting point is 00:52:37 So there's another intervention that's done. And this time, Mitch is sort of on board with it. For some reason, somehow photos of the intervention make it into the press. Do with that what you will. And remember that Mitch suddenly was very supportive of the intervention. And then photos of the intervention got into the papers. I don't know what that means. I know what I think it means. Yeah. What do you
Starting point is 00:53:06 think it means? I think that Mitch told the press where it was happening. I mean, this man brought, you know, television cameras to a family vacation because he was filming a documentary called My Daughter Amy. And she, she was so upset. There's always someone in the inner circle who is leaking shit. It doesn't just happen. Right. And like, British tabloids are even worse than American ones. And like, if the media is invasive enough and if the financial incentives are there, it just seems like someone in an inner circle is going to crack. Right. Right. If not multiple people. I can't necessarily relate to having a number of my family become world famous seemingly overnight.
Starting point is 00:53:50 But like, I'm sure it brings out parts of you that you're not necessarily proud of. Like, if I, you know, if I really wanted to get tickets to like a basketball game and my sister was world famous, then yeah, I probably would be like, well, I'm actually the sister of, you know, whoever, you know, like, I think it does create a bit of a monster in, you know, in anyone who is close to you. Close to the famous person, you know. Yeah. So anyway, Amy is supposed to start a US tour. But with the seizure and everything, it is decided that she will go to rehab. And you can imagine the jokes that came out of that from good old J Leno. Here's where stuff is very interesting. It's decided that Amy will go to rehab It's decided that Amy will go to rehab with Blake.
Starting point is 00:54:50 Huh, that the two of them will go to the same rehab together. Many, many people would advise against this. Many doctors would advise against it. Many just random people on the street would advise against it. I would advise against it. Like you do not go to rehab with the person who got you into the stuff that you're rehabbing from. You need that space.
Starting point is 00:55:10 It's great that they both go, but they gotta go to separate places is what I would assume. Yeah. Guess how long they stay in rehab. 45 minutes. I mean, I think it was like three days or something. Wow, better than what I said, but not great.
Starting point is 00:55:28 Yeah, it's still not great, still not great. I think there is actually another time though in her life where she did like walk, she's photographed walking into a rehab clinic and then like an hour later walking out as if she just like came in to get like a low down of like what would happen in rehab and then she was like, okay, I'm good. But yeah, they stay for three days. And they are, of course, photographed back in Camden. And there are some really distressing photos of them, like bloody and disheveled and bandaged and walking on the street.
Starting point is 00:56:00 Amy wore these ballet flats all the time. I like, I think they were fully actually ballerine issues. And there's an image of them just covered in blood that is like, when I was a kid, I was like, that's so glamorous. But now it's very distressing and blood is not actually a fun thing to look at. I think it's like a as a younger teenager. You're like, wouldn't it be so glamorous
Starting point is 00:56:23 to just have my life be falling apart? And then when it is, you're like, wouldn't it be so glamorous to just have my life be falling apart? And then when it is, you're like, oh no, it's not. Why did I think that? This actually sucks. This actually feels so shitty. Yeah, but it's like, but I don't know, like when you're too young to like feel like you have a life, it's just exciting to think of having something long enough for it to get destroyed. Yeah. I guess that's what it is, huh? I don't know. It's something.
Starting point is 00:56:50 Because when you're a teenager, you're not responsible for your own life, and you have to do what everyone tells you. But the appeal of being responsible for your whole life, and then letting it fall apart just so that you can have that control. I can do whatever I want with this. It's sort of the same principle as when you cut your Barbie's hair and color all over her
Starting point is 00:57:14 face. It's like, I'm responsible. This is my thing that I can do whatever I want with. Because I have zero impulse control, I'm going to ruin it, you know? Yeah, but at least I have the power to ruin it, which is like not much to cling to, but you know, sometimes you do that. There's a moment that they talk about in the documentary where like, Blake, he like cut himself by accident, I think, and then Amy cut herself in the same spot on purpose and said to him, I'll do anything that you do. Amy, honey, he's just a guy. Hit him with your car. Yeah. On November 8th, 2007, her home is rated in Camden, and Blake is arrested for assault
Starting point is 00:58:12 and obstruction of justice. Apparently, he beat up a pub manager in 2006, and then paid him $400,000 to keep quiet about it. And this is unsubstantiated, but I would assume that that $400,000 came out of Amy's pocketbook because how did he have that kind of money? I mean, really. So Blake is arrested and put in jail and he goes to prison. And of course, Amy spirals, we've seen this before. Every time he's sort of is taken out of her life, she spirals. But this is also around the time that the Grammy nominations are announced.
Starting point is 00:58:50 And interestingly enough, one of the people announcing Grammy nominations that year is Taylor Swift, which I think is so crazy, I feel like she exists in a different cultural moment. And then, okay, so she has six nominations, which is huge. Best new artist, album of the year for Back to Black, Best Pop Vocal album, record of the year
Starting point is 00:59:12 for rehab, song of the year for rehab, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for rehab. George Lope has announces her Best Female Pop. Wow, that's a name I've not heard. And let me tell you, he is on my shit list. He announces her best female pop vocal performance nomination with a joke. He says something to the effect of like, will somebody go wake up Amy Winehouse wherever she is? And then he under his breath says drunk ass.
Starting point is 00:59:44 What? Yeah, at her Grammy nomination, could you imagine? No. Ah. She was like this cartoon character, and I think maybe because she was British, nobody, I mean, we were doing it to Brittany, but I feel like there was just this weird thing
Starting point is 00:59:59 where it was like Amy Winehouse is over there so we can make fun of her and feel okay about it. I think Americans fundamentally don't think British people are real. Exactly, exactly. And it trickles down. So when George Lopez makes this joke and Jay Leno makes that joke, suddenly you have kids in school, in middle school, just sort of being like, oh, Amy Winehouse is going to die. Like, I mean,
Starting point is 01:00:25 this is a woman who literally has like in her hit songs. In the song Back to Black, the music video is a funeral procession. And the lyrics are basically her being like, my odds are stacked. I mean, like the messaging is like, it is destiny that I'm gonna die. Yeah, and it's like, well, yeah, eventually Amy, but it's like, but it's so weird when we have this sort of cultural complicity and like, wow, she really was destined to burn bright and flame out early.
Starting point is 01:00:57 And it's like, no, she wasn't, this is our fault. I mean, I just, it's so fucked up Sarah. It's just like, yeah, it's so sad and it's so like, it's so bizarre to look at. She's obviously singing about Blake and how he went back to his ex and she's going back to black and, you know, in that case, black to me, black is like her depression and her, her negative traits, her self-destructive traits. I really relate to that. When something is over, when a friend or a lover
Starting point is 01:01:33 is done sort of playing with me and puts me back on the shelf, I can revert back to parts of myself that I'm not super proud of. And it's like, this person is an addict. This person is not addict. This person is not trying to be clever. This person is perhaps asking you for help, you know? Yeah. And I don't know that you can see somebody kind of experience using this imagery and
Starting point is 01:01:57 and having this sort of romance with death. And you can just be like, listen, this is not going anywhere good. Trust me, you know, you don't have to trust that this is the right relationship for them. So the Grammy announcements happen. And when Blake is in jail and the Grammy announcements are announced, Amy agrees to go to rehab for real on her own. And she is clean by the Grammy Awards. She performs at the Gram Grammy's remotely in London via satellite because she had visa problems. She sings, you know I'm no good and rehab. And I think I
Starting point is 01:02:34 mentioned that one of her idols, like all-time idols, was Tony Bennett, who she eventually we know will perform with. And I just sent you a video. And this is one of my favorite videos of her. And I would like for you to watch it. OK. 3, 2, 1, go. And the Grammy goes to Amy Winehouse. The Thank you to everyone at Ireland records. Everyone at E of My Music Pub is in. To Ray Ray and Joe,
Starting point is 01:03:49 ten years this year, Ray Ray and Joe, to Mark Wilson and Salon Remy, to my mum and dad. For my Blake, my Blake and Carcerated, and for London, this is for London, because Carleton Town and Bernie Femme My blackened classer, right? And for London, this is for London, because Canada's telling everybody to do.
Starting point is 01:04:07 You know, Tony Bennett has been an idol of her as her whole life. And then he gave her this Grammy. He announced this Grammy. And she's there in London with her whole family. She's sober and she just is like shocked. Yeah. I mean, in a way that makes you wonder if she felt
Starting point is 01:04:27 maybe undeserving or something, but like, this is similarly like the payoff of years and years of hard work and passion. And that wasn't the only thing she won that night also. She like won, so that one was record of the year. She won best new artist. She won best pop vocal album. She won record of the year, this one,
Starting point is 01:04:51 and then song of the year, and then best female pop vocal performance. So she won five Grammys that night. God. And you are watching what is like, theoretically the greatest moment of someone's life. And yet Amy is sort of numb for a few seconds and then she turns around and goes to hug her band.
Starting point is 01:05:13 Yeah. Which also speaks to the teamwork that goes into making the product of Amy Winehouse and maybe she understands that it's not just her. Yeah, which I love. The girl who wanted to perform jazz songs in Seedy Night Clubs is now world famous. And that is obviously a lot of pressure.
Starting point is 01:05:36 It's a lot of pressure for an addict. It's a lot of pressure for a young woman. So three days after this Grammy win, she relapses. Oh, God. Wow. Yeah. And I don't want to make this whole episode about like, she relapsed and then she went to rehab over and over, like, I think her story could be that. And I'm sure I'm already like making it that
Starting point is 01:05:59 and buying into it. And you know, like that, it's really hard to talk about somebody who is an addict. But this particular relapse is like interesting to me because like, I'm someone who's very familiar with addiction and like, it makes sense to make bad decisions when you're low and you're in a depression and you don't have a lot going on. And I think the impulse to return to your bad behavior when things are really good and you're at the top of your game is like also very interesting to me. She didn't really bask in her win. You know, like she just sort of was like, I got to stop feeling. Yeah. Huh. And I think maybe like she misses Blake, like one of the first people she mentions in her acceptance speech is Blake. Oh. And
Starting point is 01:06:43 perhaps using these drugs made her feel closer to him. Or, you know, to even be like considered like the most talented person who does what you do, who can live up to that, you know, like it's, it's a lot, it's a lot to deal with. So by mid 2008, she's using pretty regularly. It was like she got sober just enough for this moment, just long enough to win the Grammys and then she was sort of back to where she was. And she's making huge money. Like her her fees have gone way way up due to winning these awards. And she's on a financial trajectory that nobody wants to halt. Nobody who is responsible for Amy Winehouse, the product would dare Halt that financial trajectory. And this is when a lot of her friends start to withdraw from her because she's
Starting point is 01:07:35 using and she's just not fun to be around and they don't want to be a part of it. They don't want to like, you know, this was maybe the straw that broke the camel's back and they don't want to enable her. She is this was maybe the straw that broke the camel's back and they don't want to enable her. She is doing all these festivals. There's like a glass tambourine festival where she's like Naomi Perry talks about it. Like she seemed fine and then like literally 20 minutes before she was meant to go on.
Starting point is 01:07:58 Suddenly she was like falling on the floor and she had this like creative idea at glass tambourine to put little cocktail umbrellas in her hair and it's sort of delightful looking and I mean it's a fine performance but the thing that everyone talks about is like she goes into the crowd and a fan pulls at her and so she turns around and punches the fan in the face and that's sort of what everyone talks about which is very interesting because nowadays there's a big conversation about like being a fan in a crowd and like what is respectful and like you shouldn't be throwing teddy bears at the performer, you shouldn't be
Starting point is 01:08:36 throwing things at the performer touching them, you know. But at the time we believe that you should pull strangers hair pretty much. Yeah and I think that also like this was maybe pre-social media like to be in at the presence of someone that you admired that much. Like maybe you wouldn't really know what to do, you know? Like you wouldn't have control of your faculties or something. There's also this recording of her singing rehab through like gridded teeth and like I think I said it already, but it's like rehab became this like battle cry where she was like, fuck everyone, I am not going to rehab. She assaults a photographer, kind of very similar to
Starting point is 01:09:11 Britney Spears, and then like there are jokes about her appearance because she's using, she's an active user. So like when you use stuff like heroin or crack, like you know, you pick at your skin, you are dozing off in public and like the jokes just sort of, you know, you pick at your skin, you are dozing off in public, and like the jokes just sort of, I mean, I feel like for someone like Jay Leno, it's like the jokes are writing themselves, you know? Yeah, and you have to have like a hundred jokes every night. A lot of this happens because people like Amy Winehouse create good, easy copy. The jokes are easy to make. There are a lot of writers trying to come up with stuff for Jay Leno to say and Billy needs new shoes.
Starting point is 01:09:49 Yeah. But then the problem is like, when and why did we decide that these were the jokes we had to make? Yeah. And why can't we undecide that? Maybe it's just because I've dealt with addiction. And to see these videos of like paparazzi taunting her on the street. Maybe it's just because I've dealt with addiction. And to see these videos of like,
Starting point is 01:10:07 paparazzi taunting her on the street. Yeah. I mean, it's just so enathema to me. Like, I just can't fathom. That's like, Lions praying on a wounded antelope or something. Yeah, yeah. I think also this is a time where it's like, she's won the Grammys, she's gone on the tours,
Starting point is 01:10:25 she's done the festivals, like the back-to-black album promotion is over and her husband's in jail and she's left to her own devices and like this is sort of when she fell out of being a musical act and really just was a you, a tabloid fixture. And the images of her are, you know, just so bad. I mean, to publish the worst image of someone to me is like, I, you know, I take group photos and I like, you know, try and find the one where everybody looks good, you know what I mean?
Starting point is 01:11:01 And I got like approval from everyone and, you know, like, but it's like this was a time where people were trying to find the worst photo ever, you know what I mean? And I got like approval from everyone. And you know, like, but it's like this was a time where people were trying to find the worst photo ever, you know? Yeah, because you know, that's the business we decided we're gonna have. Yeah. So things are bad, things keep going. And then I don't know how this happens,
Starting point is 01:11:19 but I guess she had been to St. Lucia before, but she eventually goes to St. Lucia with a bunch of friends and family. And like, St. Lucia is like her happy place. So like, she manages to stay off of drugs. She's still drinking, but she's like, off of drugs. There's a lot of footage from this trip, because this is when Mitch shows up with a camera crew to make a documentary called My Daughter Amy. And there's a lot of footage of it in the Amy documentary. And it's sort of like, you know, she has her extensions out. She's got this curly mop of hair. And she's sort of just like doing cartwheels on the beach. And like,
Starting point is 01:11:57 she seems to really be like Adi's. And she has like a sort of fight with her father Mitch about the camera crew, but like, this is sort of like the beginning of a good thing, I think. She divorces Blake while he's in jail in July. Yeah. Why don't we know about her reaching that place emotionally? I couldn't find too much. Like, I mean, it sort of seems like everybody is saying, she just came to her senses. I don't know that that statement ever really means what people think it means. What I imagine, because in St. Lucia,
Starting point is 01:12:36 there's footage and photos of her with a new man on the beach and certainly not trying to vilify her, but this is a woman that we know throws herself into every relationship. So I kind of imagine that she met somebody and like, you know, the drama, the attraction of Blake just wasn't doing it anymore. And you know, according to medieval lit, the best way to fall out of love is to or to cure sort of the heartache of last love is to fall in love with someone else. Yeah. And I mean, I think that's often true. So yeah, she divorces him while he's in jail. She had a new boyfriend,
Starting point is 01:13:19 she was less dependable on alcohol. She launched her own record label called Lianess Records. Oh my God. And she signs her 13 year old goddaughter, Dion Brahmfeld, who is still making music today. She does a Fred Perry collab, which I think I've told you about because I have an item from it. What is it?
Starting point is 01:13:41 Fred Perry did, he did a lot of the polos that Amy used to wear. And so then she did just a celebrity collab with him and they made little sweater dresses and like, archile sweaters and polos and so many cute things, little shirt dresses. I have a little sweater dress that I love. That's perfect.
Starting point is 01:14:02 She goes from having a full knowledge bump to having a fall that is more of a buffant. And it's slightly, I don't know, it's just slightly more mature, a little less caricature-y to me. I mean, I think she looked really, really good. She also finds out that she is a very weak heart due to all of her drinking and her bulimia. So she stops drinking, she gets healthy, she is visibly healthy. We start seeing photos of her.
Starting point is 01:14:35 I remember seeing photos of her during this time. This is probably like 2010, 2011, where she just looked great. And she was like wearing a little bowling shirt and walking down the street. And things were seemingly coming together for her. This is when she records the duet with Tony Bennett body and soul is the song. And you can see her perfectionism just sort of like is still there, you know. So people seem to think she's doing great. The people on her team and stuff. I think are very proud of her. I don't know if they had ever come around
Starting point is 01:15:14 to giving her a break or if the break just happened, but basically she's in good shape and they're saying, let's go on tour. So she goes on tour with her old material because she hasn't made a new album. She has these amazing dresses made that I love that all like a lot of them, I mean, we'll see that a lot of them never get worn. And I have a book called Amy Winehouse Beyond Black that has like detailed photos of all of the dresses and they're all so cute. There are like these little vintage-looking
Starting point is 01:15:45 like halt her dresses and they're super, super cute. And she's in rehearsals with the band, it's her old band, things are seemingly good, but she's just like not connecting to the material. Like this is all the back to black, it's all written about Blake, and it just like doesn't speak to her. Her life is sort of good and like she used to go out there and sing back to black about her ex-husband. And she's, you know, she's clearly a sensitive person and like it's just like opening these old wounds, I guess. So you know, she starts drinking again.
Starting point is 01:16:23 And then I believe it's like one of her first shows is at Bell Grade. And this video made its rounds just a couple of months before she passed in 2011. And it is her in one of these beautiful dresses in a yellow one. I'm sure you've seen it. I don't know. I'm not going gonna send it to you because it's really, mm-hmm. It's just really shitty. Yeah. But she enters the stage and she's giddy,
Starting point is 01:16:52 but she's clearly like very, very drunk. And I actually went to a, in like 2012, I would say, because I had graduated high school. I went to an art show in Brooklyn where there was a room that had this video projected on every wall and the sound was turned all the way up. And it was like, you could only really be in the room for like 30 seconds because it's just, you know, first she's giddy and she's like playing with her backup
Starting point is 01:17:25 dancers and they're trying to get her to perform and the band is playing and she's not singing. And then it turns really negative and people start booing her and she starts getting upset and she's crying. I mean, it's, if the Grammy win was like watching the greatest moment of her whole life, like this video is perhaps one of the worst moments of her whole life. It's really sad. And so, you know, the story is that Amy Winehouse blows her comeback. The Tories cancels. And Amy calls up her friend and says, the bad news is I really fucked up.
Starting point is 01:18:10 And the tour is canceled. But the good news is I can go to Nick's wedding. And Nick is her old manager, Nick Shamanski, who's getting married. So she, you know, once again sort of gets herself together, gets sober, sober-ish. She's back on good terms with her childhood friends who all pulled away from her. She's back on good terms with her childhood friends who all pulled away from her. She's back on good terms with Nick Shamancki. One of the girls in the Happy Birthday video, she calls her on July 22nd and she just sort of calls her and is like, hey, it's been a long time. I'll see you at the wedding and I I'm so sorry I know we lost touch and she like cries and the friend is just like it's so great to hear from you like it's like I'm really talking to you you know. So and she's like I'll see you tomorrow. I'll see you at the wedding.
Starting point is 01:18:56 Later that night Naomi Perry goes to her house and drops off some clothes for the wedding. She still her stylist. She sets up some outfits. And I think Amy is like, I think she's there, maybe she's not there, but they don't really talk. They like, Naomi just drops off the clothes. And then Amy's bodyguard is at the house and he walks in on her and she's watching a video of herself performing.
Starting point is 01:19:24 And he's like, hey, and she's like, I was really good. And she's like, I can really fucking sing. I have a great voice. And he's like, yeah, you do. And she's like, you know, she's just sort of watching herself. And then she says something to the effect of, you know, I would give it all back if I could just walk down the street and not be you know accosted by
Starting point is 01:19:50 paparazzi or people or fans oh and then a couple of days before that on July 20th Deon brawmfield her goddaughter who she signed Mm-hmm is performing at London's roadhouse. And Amy is not like scheduled to be there, but she does show up. And she's backstage. And Dion has her come on stage. And they sing that song that's like, Mama said there'd be days like this. There's days like yeah, yeah. So they sing that. And that is on tape. And that is her last live performance. Because the day after the day that she's scheduled to go to the wedding,
Starting point is 01:20:32 after Naomi dropped off the clothes after she talked to her childhood friend, her bodyguard walks in on her and she's found dead. Her alcohol level is four to five times the legal driving limit. Mm-hmm. And she's 27 years old. And all of her friends who are excited to see her are sort of already at the wedding venue or destination. And they're all getting the news and they're all together, which I can imagine would be extremely shocking to then have to sort of go through with your nuptials. Yeah. Some of the first things I saw
Starting point is 01:21:15 about her death were more jokes about overdosing and rehab and her public persona sort of I don't know like being somehow the cause of this. And ultimately her brother Alex Weinhaus says that what really killed her was actually her bulimia. It left her body weaker and more susceptible and if she hadn't had an eating disorder for all those years, and she had had these drinks that night, she would have been physically stronger. And perhaps would have been able to make it to that wedding. Yeah. When she died, it reminds me of when Anacle Smith died when it felt like the sense of like, oh, wow, we finally kicked the ball over the fence. You know, like we did the thing.
Starting point is 01:22:11 We've been kind of trying, but not really trying, but kind of trying to do this whole time. Yeah. Exactly. I mean, you know, perhaps people didn't realize that they were sort of actively contributing to this. Mm-hmm. I think also like, certainly with that Belgrade video, which was I think like a month or something before her eventual death.
Starting point is 01:22:33 It was sort of like once again this moment, this like final moment of like, please help me, you know, like, and to their credit, the people in her life did cancel that tour. Like they did maybe listen to the cry for help. Yeah, and I guess, I don't know, how do you wish things had been different? What do you think? Because it feels like impossible to look back and say what would have made a difference because everything is so entangled with everything else. But I mean, I don't know.
Starting point is 01:23:02 Do you have thoughts about that? I mean, I think that any one thing, like it wasn't any one thing, you know, and I wish that she could have known like some sort of peace in her time on Earth. I do think that there is a version of her in some alternate universe and some everything everywhere, all at once universe where she kind of stopped at 19, you know, when she was signed to Simon Fuller, like before darkest bees.
Starting point is 01:23:37 And she was making her 250 pounds a month and she was performing in the clubs and she had her own flat and she was smoking weed and having her friends over and they were doing each other's makeup and having a ball and she was having like Relationship it's like I wish that that moment could have lasted Forever for her, you know or or bin like What her life ended up being? Certainly everything post Frank it was just like too much pressure for her and it like made her, it put her at odds with herself again and at odds with her body. And yeah,
Starting point is 01:24:12 like I always imagine that she saw herself on these talk shows and maybe got self conscious and it triggered her eating disorder to come back or something. It's like if she could have been exposed less to her cell for something. Who do we need to have the power to make things better? It's like you can't expect that of individual parents necessarily or individual friends or people you work with, but it's like somewhere out there society needs to be organized in a way that that supports people rather than allowing weakness to be exploited, which I think is what we believe in now. Yeah, and ultimately like it was the kind of exploitation of her that was her downfall, whether it was being exploited by the media or Blake or
Starting point is 01:25:03 her father. I just think of her as somebody who was always at odds with herself. She was at odds with her talent. She didn't want to be as big as she was. She didn't want to be as famous as she was. I mean, it's really interesting because it's this thing that happened to her that she truly did not want or ask for. But it was like a perfect storm. Yeah. And then suddenly I'm sure it became something that the
Starting point is 01:25:30 people around her wanted once it was, you know, available and everything that came with it. Yeah. They erected a statue of her in Camden, which I think is very sweet because I do think that she found herself in Camden, like she really came into her own and loved it there. And there is the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which was set up by her family. And it was launched on what would have been her 28th birthday. And it's meant to help vulnerable or disadvantaged young people. And it works with other charitable organizations to provide frontline support to addicts and young people. And there's offices in New York and London.
Starting point is 01:26:13 So I don't think that there's anything that could have happened that would have justified this loss. But I hope that it is doing good work. And I hope, you know, I just, I think that she will be remembered no matter what. And I think that she will certainly be remembered as a true talent and as somebody who, you know, expressed herself so beautifully. But unfortunately, I think that there's no way to really remember her without remembering her demons remembering her
Starting point is 01:26:45 demons and her addictions. And I think that nobody wants to be remembered for those things. Yeah. Well, and maybe it's like the different way to approach it is remembering her for, you know, the pain that she experienced, not just sort of it so that we can gok at that, but so we can understand what she was creating through, you know. Yeah. I don't know.
Starting point is 01:27:13 A lot more people now than 10 years ago are seem capable of admitting that they're messy and they make bad choices and that they also would say, no, no, no, you know, and that she could admit, you know, what people needed to hear in order to feel like somebody else knew what it was like, but that they couldn't say themselves. Yeah, yeah, I think I think that's that's exactly it. I mean, two albums. This girl gave us two albums. Yeah. And left that much of a of a mark. And I just, I, you know, the death of any young person, any artist is a bad thing. But to think that this girl could have, I mean, she didn't owe us anything. But to think of the other things that she could have given us if she wanted to. Yeah. Aside from us, as an artist, don't you feel like part of the gift of being alive is continuing to grow in the work that we do. I don't know, with every every project, I do if I'm like growing through each one, then like with each one, I feel more like I understand more deeply who I am in a way.
Starting point is 01:28:33 And I don't think there's any glamour to dying young, you know, there's not, there aren't glamorous deaths or less glamorous death. Like it's all just death. You guys, death is death, you know, the pipes all go to the same place. It doesn't matter if you do it in a poor spider. And Ronnie Spector, who I'm sure you know, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, you know, the lead singer of the Ronets.
Starting point is 01:28:57 Mm-hmm. And you know, so many artists, Adele, Lady Gaga, they all sort of cite Amy as an inspiration, but Ronnie was a big inspiration to Amy. In fact, her hairdo kind of came straight from Ronnie, and she was compared to Ronnie a lot because the thing about the Ronettes were they were the girl group, but they were like the bad girls from Queens. You know what I mean? Like they they were sort of like tough and like chewing gum and smoking cigarettes. And so that was very that was so clearly in the DNA of Amy. But here's here's a quote from Ronnie Specter. I first heard Amy at a time in my life when I
Starting point is 01:29:38 needed inspiration. All artists have a low at some point. My son brought the back-to-black album home, and the first track I heard was rehab. That just killed me. Ha-ha! To me, it was a combination of ingredients that made Amy a once-in-a-lifetime artist. The voice, the lyrics, style, and that attitude. Was she jazz, soul, blues? No. She's just Amy, unlike anyone else.
Starting point is 01:30:04 Although I was from the 60s, I saw myself in her and she inspired me to continue. As I say at every show I've performed since she left us, Amy Winehouse gave me a wonderful gift. She made me feel that what I did mattered. And I think that's so beautiful. Something I didn't really understand until the last few years, and I'm kind of shocked by, but it's very true, because that some of the people you admire most, like, there may come a day when they're inspired by your work. And that reveals not just what you are capable of, what we all are, but like, the fact that everybody you know, everybody you admire, everybody whose work helped you figure out who you are
Starting point is 01:30:47 that you grew up looking at as a clue to the world. You wanted to be a part of like, they're all people who seek inspiration and aren't sure where their work is going and what it's doing and just that we're all kind of, and I don't know, and that makes me feel like this is never gonna not be a tragic story, but the sort of communication that's always open between people who put some aspect of themselves into what they put out into the world.
Starting point is 01:31:14 It's like there's something really, really encouraging about the fact that you can't know when you put something in the world in any way like you can't know where it's going or what it's gonna do and in such positive ways. There's a layer to anything you make that is like, this was for me. I needed to deal with the loss of my father or this thing that happened to me, or I got divorced or whatever it is,
Starting point is 01:31:46 then there's the other layer of what someone gets out of it, and what it means to them, and it might be completely at odds with what you thought you were doing and what you thought you were putting out there. But if it helps someone in an unintentional way, then isn't that just beautiful? Yeah.
Starting point is 01:32:06 That cycle is so beautiful and so powerful and encouraging it. And then it's tragic that the cycle could not continue. Yeah. Cause she would get boring. She would like move to Malibu and like, you know, there would be like stupid articles
Starting point is 01:32:23 and people about like Amy Winehouse opens up about her home gym. Yeah, it looks so nice to watch how she become boring. Oh my god, that would have been so cool. I know. I mean, it does sort of bring up the feeling of like, you know, we started by talking about the Forever 27 Club and like obviously there's like that whole element of it where it's like that's your Saturn return and like you know the shit is gonna hit the fan and blah blah blah and you know I like I got sober at 27 so like in some ways the shit did hit the fan for me. All of those people in that club like there's an element of it that's like you know their legacy could have changed maybe for the worst.
Starting point is 01:33:08 I don't want to be morbid here or whatever, shit on anyone's legacy. But it's like, who knows? Maybe Kurt Copaine would have become a has-been. Yeah, which is the dream really to survive long enough to be a has-been? Yeah, would he have been a guest star on Glee or something, you know, like, like, it could have been, you know, like, like, there isn't alternative. Yeah, his, him Morrison would have gotten really into like, spa music in the 80s and just made like ambient music for 14 years.
Starting point is 01:33:39 Yes, like, their legacies are sealed. Right. And like, it feels like glamorous celebrity death. Like, it's not glamorous for glamorous celebrity death. Like it's not glamorous for the celebrity. They're dead. Right. They don't appreciate it. It's only glamorous if you're looking at it, you know. And I guess I would love to see like imagine you're on Instagram and then you're like, oh my god, another ad for Jim Morris and Essential Oil. Yeah, or like, oh God, Kurt Cobain posted this, like his breakfast or something, you know, like. I was never particularly cool and I lately,
Starting point is 01:34:15 I have been noticing like, oh yeah, I am simply not young anymore and I never will be again and there's also like a freedom and like being out of the young years. Yeah. Where it's just like you kind of get to just wear more comfortable shoes for a start. I mean there was a time in my life where I thought I would die at 27 because everyone who I loved did and I thought you know like I'm not long for this earth or whatever and like, how wonderful it to be 30 and to not be cool and to not be, you know, drinking and to not be, you know, to live this stupid, boring little life, you know, I love it.
Starting point is 01:35:01 Yeah. I think I, this is like advice that's like second hand from second hand to something, but I think of it a lot of somebody kind of describing their younger years and how like they needed every night to be a 10 and how part of growing up and also sobriety is like being like tonight's going to be a five. Yeah, and a five is a good night. Oh my God. Yeah. I would, I love a five. You got a big potato I think a 10 is
Starting point is 01:35:32 You get 10 tens in your whole life If that you know, that's that's a high number to be honest. Okay, you can't force a 10 Yeah, because you know, there is also a story. It's like when she won her Grammy Her friend was there and was like, oh my god, aren't you so happy? This is so exciting. And she looked at her friend and she said, this is so boring without drugs. And it's like that night should have been the 10. Yeah. It's like, I heard this analogy once or metaphor where it's like addiction is like a little kid running after a balloon that's sort of slipped through their hands and they keep running and running and they like sort of
Starting point is 01:36:06 Run into a tree and they like you know run over a stick and fall and get back up and they keep running They just can't and the balloon like we'll slip out of your hands and move into the sky You'll never be able to get it and like the longer you run after it the more danger you're in. I don't know I guess She wanted to stop running, but also she kind of didn't. Maybe she didn't know how to stop running. Yeah, and it's so hard to want what's good for you too. We've talked about this and, you know, probably many other episodes of the show, but how we have this idea of like, well, why couldn't she just make good choices? And it's like, do you have any idea how unattractive and in fact scary good
Starting point is 01:36:45 choices can feel like they do not look good when you're when you compare to the balloon. Right. And to be 27, I mean, she was that was not a long life. Like she was barely an adult, you know, like, it's just like, how can we expect good choices here? These are, these are children in adult bodies, you know? And what do we set up in lieu of forcing people to make good choices individually? Right. So yeah, so that was the story of Amy.
Starting point is 01:37:16 And I think like any good artist, it will live on. And she will live on. Eve, you're so magical to me and I love just talking to you about the world and the work that you do and if people want to experience more of you, where can they go? Oh gosh, well I'm on strike right now so there's not a lot to experience but I am on. These have to come to your house. Yeah, come on over, we'll listen to Back to Black and then we'll listen to Frank. No, I'm on Instagram as Eve's E-Linley and I'm on Twitter or X or whatever, but I'm not really, I am, but I'm not, so but it's Eve Lindley there and
Starting point is 01:38:10 So I guess send send good vibes send good vibes be my friend and I probably will listen to both of her albums now Back to back I'm gonna get on the car and do the same thing. I think I'm gonna be walking so flu or at Costco later today. Yeah, I can't go wrong. She's great for Costco. And that was our episode. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for coming with me and Evelyn Lee on this drive-down sunset boulevard in a stolen convertible.
Starting point is 01:38:57 Thank you to Evelyn Lee for guesting. Thank you to Miranda Zickler for editing. Thank you to Carolyn Kendrick for editing and producing. We'll see you in two weeks. you

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