Five Amy Winehouse Great Performances

Amy Winehouse was born Sept 14, 1993 in the suburban area of North London called Southgate. Today she would have turned 40.

When Amy was 20, she was interviewed by The Guardian about her debut album, Frank, which didn't agree with the singer. The label chose mixes and songs she did not approve of and the hype, she felt, was not there

"Well, the marketing was [bad], the promotion was terrible. Everything was a shambles," she said. "It's frustrating, because you work with so many idiots - but they're nice idiots. So you can't be like, 'You're an idiot.' They know that they're idiots."

The machine did not fail her a few years later when her second, and tragically, final album Back to Black was made. She was paired with Mark Ronson who produced it and also co-wrote the title track with her.

Despite being far from the mainstream of 21st century pop music, the album sold millions and won 5 Grammys. Here's some selections of note from her two albums.

You Sent Me Flying, 7/10/2004

While at the North Sea Jazz Festival, a European festival which that year included Elvis Costello, Santana, James Brown, Buddy Guy, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, and Pat Metheny, Amy was described in the program as someone new to keep an eye on.

"She may be only twenty, but her subjects are a lot wiser and more explicit than those of your average One Hit Wonder in the charts," it warned.

"You Sent Me Flying" from her debut made it obvious that a jazz festival was exactly where she should have been.

Stronger Than Me, 11/7/2003

Another look at 20-year-old Amy without the now-trademark hair or tattoos or distractions, just her, that voice, and a baby blue guitar that looks to be swallowing her up. Sometimes in live settings it's hard to get a good mix, but since this was from the Jools Holland show "Later," the balance of horns, guitars and rhythm are ideal as she knocks out the first song off Frank.

Back to Black - Unknown promotion stop, 2007

What's beautiful about this version of the title track of her second album is there's no nonsense going on here. No vocal gymnastics, no overblown holding of notes, no faux emotion. The guitarist is even playing with nylon strings.

The quality of Amy's voice is so rich and full here. When people wince at some of her final shows its because they remember moments like this of purity and raw beauty.

Valerie, 6/29/2007

While at the Eurockeennes Festival, the French fans got to see Amy in a beautiful period of her musical peak. She had the band, the songs, and just enough self control to tour the world with the album sweeping the planet. When most think of Amy Winehouse, good and bad, this is the image that comes to their head.

Love is a Losing Game, 3/16/2007

When Amy arrived in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest, the album was doing well, but she didn't perform at any of the very large venues at the festival. Sticking mostly to smaller situations that spring, Amy even sang at a downtown record store. The sets were relatively short, sweet, and compared to the 1,000+ other bands competing for attention: subtle.

This is not a song you sing to pronounce to the industry that you've arrived. This is the song you sing when you're a genuine singer.

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