Living To Music – Amy Winehouse ‘Back To Black’




YEAR: 2006

This Sunday (August 7th), at 9pm, you’re invited to share a listening session with some likeminded souls, wherever you might be. This can be experienced either alone or communally, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home to participate. Full lowdown here:


Further to last week’s post:

I’d planned to feature ‘Back To Black’ a month from now, following on from James Brown’s ‘Live At The Apollo’ – the oldest album to the youngest one was the intention. Now it’s youngest to oldest, Amy Winehouse life ending only five years after Brown’s, who was fifty years her senior. It’s all a case of what ifs now. James Brown was one of the most prolific recording artists of all, releasing around eighty albums. Amy Winehouse only released two (with her record company no doubt readying a posthumous third), so it’s quite a contrast to make.

Fortunately one of those two albums is a classic by any standard, elevating her to the higher echelons despite leaving such a relatively small body of work. ‘Back To Black’ would sell by the million and clean up at the Grammy’s in 2008, scooping five major awards – this marked the high point in her career, the rest was a downward spiral leading to its inevitably tragic conclusion.

Your own memories are always welcomed, and, should you join us for Sunday’s session, it’d be great if you could leave a comment here after you’ve listened to the album sharing your impressions – how the music affected you, who you listened to it with, where you were, plus anything else relevant to your own individual / collective experience.

Back To Black Wikipedia:

Living To Music Facebook Event Page:

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14 Responses to Living To Music – Amy Winehouse ‘Back To Black’

  1. Chris "Radish" Rayner August 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Loving the time to listen.

  2. Paul Riley August 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I’d forgotten how good the non-singles tracks are – Me & Mr Jones and Just Friends just sounded superb tonight. Love is a losing game is and will always be a lump in the throat moment song for me.

  3. Chris "Radish" Rayner August 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Really enjoyed listening to that album. When you listen to the lyrics they give an insight into her world and a glimpse into her problems. That’s the point, the album is heartfelt and real, it is her world.

    I listened alone, I live alone .. . .I wake up alone. However, unlike Amy I wake knowing better things are ahead. This is the tragic waste of it, Amy woke to troubles everyday I suspect.

    Love is a losing game means a lot to me, but in retrospect I feel it captures the waste of sheer talent and loss of life that was Amy Winehouse.

    May she rest, but her music never tire.

  4. Paul Wright August 8, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    It was just after leaving University in 1999 that I got into soul and motown in a big way listening a lot to likes of Aretha Franklin, Al Green, The Delphonics, Diana Ross to name just a few….

    I didn’t know Amy’s first album; I first heard her on the radio driving to and from work. I can remember being really taken by how re-freshing her music was versus the majority of the other contemporary dross. After hearing a couple of tracks I went and bought this album; a very rare moment and I think the last album I have bought directly from hearing mainstream.

    I remember being asked to play some tunes at a tipi party some mates were throwing in Wales in 2006, the first track I put on was tears dry on their own (I remember playing back to black too, both getting quite a mixed response!). It wouldn’t be for another few years until I’d actually make the connection with the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell version of ain’t no mountain high enough, then soon after discovering the Inner Life version as well…

    Amy’s voice is incredible, it really does exude a depth of feeling and emotion that for me harks back to real classic soul. The accompanying strings, jazz and percussion sections serve to polish off some superb tracks on this album

    It was clear Amy was a tortured soul, such outpourings can clearly be heard through Back To Black. I really felt for the girl, such a talent….struggling to grapple with her emotions whilst the media played much of it completely out of context. A couple of years ago I remember a work colleague telling me that if they lived next door to someone like this then they would call the police. I was completely flabbergasted, it shows how perceptions can vary wildly out there.

    I’m glad I have been fortunate enough to listen to and appreciate some superb music from Amy Winehouse. It’s sad that her time was so short yet her passing has re-ignited interest in her music…people will continue to be influenced by it and discover the incredible sounds that went before her…

    All the best


  5. cez August 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    I was a little anxious about listening to this album, given the circumstances of what has happened. A minute before the album began there was an outburst of laughter from all the group that had sat down to listen, immediately the vibe brightened and placed not just me but the other listeners in a great place to begin.

    I didn’t get sad, just enthralled by the utter energy that came from such a powerful woman through her voice and lyrics. The striding gutsyness (is that a word?) from Me and Mr Jones, and the haunting poetic and obsessive lyrics of ‘I wake up alone’.

    Great to honour and celebrate Amy’s life and talent although im equally left with a disappointed feeling that there can be no more to come.

  6. mark August 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Dixon dropped Back To Black as his last track the night after she died on the terrace at Space…a very real Balearic moment and one that anybody who was there will not forget for sometime im sure.

  7. TC August 10, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    This L2M fell in a very celebratory weekend for me but whilst I was expecting it to be very emotional, in fact, to my surprise, it wasn’t!! I just thoroughly enjoyed listening to her extraordinary voice. Great songs, real songs from the heart. It occured to me that she hadn’t just taken a genre and sang in that style but she had truly contemporised the genre.

  8. Nadia August 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    My suspicion of the industry marketing of genres meant I didn’t listen closely to her work until those I had respect for persuaded me otherwise (TC and GW setting me right as usual). She is right inside of the music styles that have defined my life on this album and being an aspirant white girl jazz singer myself that is a place I have always longed to be. Such effortless phrasing in her singing and her words. Clever and funny and sad.

    She seemed intent on living her own version of the past and her understanding of love and life seem to come from piecing together the biographies of great singers whose lives were shaped by abusive men and the drugs they took to kill the pain because they had no other choices. The fifties is a dark decade to be influenced by for a young woman looking to find her way in relationships. Maybe the fact that she did not seem able to escape her own lifestyle shows that she didn’t have a choice either. It just seemed too easy for the industry around her to keep making money from her marketing her self destruction.

  9. greg wilson August 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Had meant to leave a comment a number of days ago, but the riots took my attention and it’s only now that I’ve found time to get a few words down.

    It’s such a shame that some people dismiss her work because her personal life was such a mess. Maybe it will take some distance before she’s fully appreciated as an artist, and her image as a car crash celebrity becomes secondary, rather than primary.

    Let’s hope she’ll be remembered more for the music, rather than the mayhem.

  10. Rachele Zavacky August 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Winehouse will forever be a legend in the music industry, and whether you like her music or not you have to admit that many people have been touched by the way she sings and performs – not by her behavior. However, I also hope that she will be a legend for inspiring people to get help for drug addiction. It just goes to show that even the most promising and influential people can fall victim to this condition. Sad. She will be missed.

  11. Christian August 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    This was my first l2m, luckily it was one of my favorite albums, witch made it easier!! I’m not realy a music head, I’m more it’s just a sound track to my life kinda guy, but Greg and his wife Tracy always make it more interesting to me. The way u feed of peoples energies, they have definitely changed the way I think and feel about music.. I real enjoyed back to black on Sunday, in a different way than I ever have before, not just in d car for a fue minuites or walking from here to there on my iPhone…. Start to finish with no distractions you definitely get more out of what a superb album and amazing artist she realy was. Her voice and deliverance on this makes the hairs on the back of ur neck stand up, smile in the right places and nearly cry in others..
    It’s so sad to here of her demise and like the rest of the world I wasn’t shocked.. But it’s doesn’t lessen the loss, she has left behind one of my favorite albums and I dont think she will be forgotten. L2m definitely gave me a different outlook on this album, I think I appreciate it a little bit more… Thank u Amy Whinehouse.

  12. dancing james August 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    I had never really paid proper attention to Amy Winehouse as an artist, my impressions were more of her as a media spectacle. It is a tragedy that someone suffering so badly from a condition they have no control over ends up in the glare of the media.

    I thought Russell Brand’s comments on here passing were so pertinent.


    Listening to the album she clearly had a great talent, but it feels that there was so much more potential. Much of it sounds like pastiche, such a shame that her potential was never fully realised.

  13. BrianE August 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Nice chord changes, horn lines and well put together music in the retro style Amy WInehouse made her own. The lyrics frequently speak of dark issues and broken relationships, despite this the music is usually up-beat and not usually correspondingly dark, ie: ‘Tears Dry on Their Own’. She didn’t really go down the ‘blues’ path in this way despite everything. that happened in her life. If she had of taken this approach the lisrening experience would have been a very sad one on sunday instead of the joyful event celebrating her only too short life it turned out to be.

  14. lec September 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Loved it even more than Frank, I enjoyed the tracks that aren’t really my favourites and sorry it’s taken me so long to post.
    What else can I say?
    Brilliant lyricist, excellent, heart rending vocalist, who bared her soul like the best blues and flamenco artists, which, I think made her so mesmerising to listen to.
    I would have loved to have heard what else she had up her sleeve.
    Meanwhile, I will carry on enjoying her work and honesty.
    Shame she’s gone x

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