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A Look Back At Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black' Ten Years Later

10/28/2016
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Amy Winehouse

(Radio.com) This week marks ten years since Amy Winehouse released her classic Back to Black in England (the album wouldn't hit the U.S. until early 2007). Her second studio album, it launched the singer to superstardom, and won five GRAMMY awards, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. Here, we take a look back at Winehouse's last studio album before her 2011 death claimed the talented singer/songwriter far before her time.

A stark declaration launched "Rehab," the opening track from Amy Winehouse's Back to Black. "They tried to make me go to rehab," the British singer intoned before offering up her response to that suggestion, "No, no, no." There was no melodic intro, no rhythmic build-up; instead, Winehouse's vocals crashed through the song's opening. She wasn't going to waste a breath mincing words. It was clear that she was different from the other pop stars of the era.

Arriving in 2006 after the highly acclaimed but less popular Frank, Back to Black took pop music on a journey. There were soulful beats, old school R&B flares and jazzy inflections, yet it sounded current because of its hip-hop swagger. Thanks to that mixture of "then and now," it stood out among the year's big hits, like Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds, Beyonce's B'day and Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics. It stayed cool where Timberlake wanted to rev up the club, it vocalized an addictive relationship where Beyonce sang about independence and it made a statement where Aguilera straddled the line between her former image and her "dirrtier" side.

Winehouse's love of classic sounds like Motown, Stax and '60s and '70s R&B informed the songs on Back to Black. There was her take on "Me and Mrs. Jones": "Me & Mr. Jones" ("Mr. Jones" was a reference to Nas, whose real name is Nasir Jones). On "Tears Dry on Their Own," she played with the central melodic riff in the classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Her references allowed her to combine the past with the present in a way that made her seem all at once timeless and current, but most of all very cool. And the industry was enamored with her voice, her songs, her style and her persona. Read more here.

Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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