An icon of our times passes away
- 25 July 2011
- by Alex Zagalsky
As word spread around London and the rest of the world that singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse passed away on Saturday afternoon, the sense of tragedy was palpable. At the heart of this unifying grief is a great sense of waste – Amy was one of the most talented musicians of our generation and we're left bereft of the gift that we wanted to watch grow and develop.
Her voice was unmistakable and her lyrics came from the depths of her soul, but somehow they touched people of all generations and backgrounds.
There's also a strong sense of inevitability connected to her death, which makes this a tragedy in its purest form. Much as the press liked to cover Amy's binges and erratic behaviour, her descent into alcoholism and drug addiction was always painful to watch - we all wanted her to resurface as the vibrant young woman she was when she had her first break, but her self-destructive streak was too great a pull.
There are many who have pointed out that Amy's talent was irrefutably linked to her own demons. Indeed, her multi-million selling 2008 album, Back to Black, was born out of anguish and heartache. However, although her creativity was undoubtedly at its most potent when she was emotionally charged, Amy was not a tortured soul, she was an emotive and vivacious musician whose addictions overtook every part of her being.
She once said that if she were no longer famous she would be happy singing in a Vegas music hall. Once speculation passes over the cause of her death and talk of her destructive personality fades into the background, it is her voice that will live on for generations to come. So in a way, Amy Winehouse will continue to sing forever just as she had always hoped she would.