Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thinking of Amy

Amy Winehouse Dies, Before Our Eyes

I came inside for a quick cool-off from yard work and to prepare for a committee meeting downtown and, by habit, clicked on Twitter to catch up on any news I missed when the first Huffington Post breaking news headline popped up announcing the death of Amy Winehouse.

I expected more stress inducing updates on the debt-ceiling negotiations and the foolish games being played by our politicians who are now putting their own selves above the good of the nation.

I dreaded more tweets of the rising death toll in Norway.

I was not prepared for the news that such a unique voice had gone silent forever. Her sultry voice became a staple of many iTunes playlists. Despite a limited collection, that is now fixed for all time, her music will continue to influence in much the same way as other greats who also died at age 27 continue to influence music (Google the 27 Club).

Sidebar: The brain works in freaky ways sometime. As soon as I saw the headline, I immediately thought Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain were also 27. Shortly thereafter the whole 27 Club stories started popping up. I was fascinated at how my brain instantly made the trivial connection between the few names and age at death. We know much more than we think we do.

As I first tweeted when seeing the headline, I was not entirely surprised at the news, but still regretted hearing it. After the recent headlines of her being booed off-stage and continued drug abuse, the downward spiral continued and I was figuring to never see her perform live; however, I hoped for more recordings. There are a few completed pieces yet to come out, but likely no fully formed new collections.

In the next days, we will likely hear much analysis of the ravages of substance abuse, and some particularly related to the use and abuse of substances in the arts and among "genius" persons. In time that will fade and we will be left with only the limited catalog of Winehouse's recordings - a catalog that will carry weight with generations of musicians to come.
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