How does a moderately talented, trashy singer with a death wish get mashed together with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Robert Johnson?
Seeing as how I’m on vacation this week, I thought I would take a step away from the world of politics for once and write about my second passion; music. When I saw on the news last week that Amy Winehouse had passed away, the first thought that ran through my slumbering brain was, who gives a shit? Unfortunately, hardly a second had passed before they announced she had passed away at the age of twenty-seven, turning my thoughts of “who gives a shit?” to just “oh shit!”
I knew right away that this troubled woman was going to be forever immortalized as a member of the 27 club and sure enough, within a half hour all the news channels were on it (between coverage of the Norway calamity). For those who don’t know, the 27 club is a club of famous artists whose sole membership requirement is dying tragically at the age of twenty-seven.
This exclusive club contains some of the most influential and ground breaking musicians ever to walk the earth. It includes: the King of the Delta blues Robert Johnson, Rolling Stones founder and guitarist Brian Jones, Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix, the Queen of Rock n’ Roll Janis Joplin, Legendary Doors singer Jim Morrison and alternative/punk icon Kurt Cobain. So, does Winehouse belongs in this collection of Rock n’ Roll legends? I think not.
Winehouse did have a few things in common with her newfound club companions; most of them met with quick success at a young age and nearly all of them had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, but that’s where the similarities end. How many of the others would consistently forget lyrics to their own songs or lash out at their fans and get booed off stage? Morrison perhaps…
The ones that came before Winehouse, or should I say the ones that went before Winehouse, are all legends in their own right. Their sphere of influence in music spans the entire industry; there is not a musician alive today, young or old that hasn’t been influenced in some way by their musical innovations, singing, songwriting or even their stage presence.
Many critics found Winehouse’s music decent; her second album was even critically acclaimed. But her music, singing and songwriting were hardly innovative. There aren’t many artists or record companies out there striving to capitalize on the fresh sounds of Amy Winehouse. Her singing and songwriting were average and her stage presence was at times horrible. The only artists who were really influenced by her are the same people that tried to emulate her image (Lady Gaga comes to mind).
Hendrix, Cobain and company will always be remembered for being pioneers in their industry, pioneers that regrettably may have died before showing us what they were truly capable of. In contrast, Ms. Winehouse won’t be remembered for her music so much as she’ll be remembered as a singer who happened to die at the age of twenty-seven.
I think that the media and tabloids will miss her behavior more than her fans will miss her music. I’ll never understand why the media decided to group her in with these other artists that the world holds in such high esteem. Was the media that desperate to expand on her story for five more minutes of airplay, even with the Norway massacre coming to light?
I’ll be the first to admit I was never and will never be a fan of Amy Winehouse, I find it hard to listen to or support someone who doesn’t respect themselves. I presume that’s why I suddenly cared about this story when it fully surfaced, I never wanted that sacred club of Legends to be infiltrated by someone I didn’t like or respect. In the end I suppose it doesn’t matter, they’re all dead and in the case of Winehouse; it was better to burn out then fade away.