11 years after and we’re still talking about it
On October 27, 2006, Amy Winehouse released her now-iconic Back to Black album. Housing songs like Rehab, You Know I’m No Good, Tears Dry On Their Own, Love Is A Losing Game and—of course—Back To Black, it was a hit unlike any other and kept the musician afloat and on top of charts the world over. That was more than a decade ago, but we still can’t stop talking about it.
The album signaled Amy Winehouse’s farewell to jazz
In her first album, Frank, Amy’s music was all about jazz. It was generally well received and propelled the artist to international stardom. But her second album signaled her growth in that she was ready to leave that jazz sound behind; instead, she was all about honest-to-goodness soul. She drew inspiration from girl groups of the 50s and the 60s, and didn’t leave anything to chance.
Amy tested the music on her dad’s taxi cab
Amy was a genius, but she wanted everyone to have the chance to hear and appreciate her music. With Back to Black, she would burn all of her songs onto a CD and play it on her father’s—a London taxi driver—car. That way she could hear the music through a lay-man’s ears and not through a professional stereo.
Despite the acclaim, Back to Black never produced a number one single
None of the singles on Back to Black actually topped the charts, which means Amy never had one in her career. Even Rehab reached its peak at number seven. Despite this, however, the album’s sales were overwhelming. In fact, it’s the second biggest selling album of the 21st century, just behind Adele’s 21.
Rehab’s hook came by accident
One day, Back to Black co-writer Mike Ronson and Amy were taking a walk to find the artist’s then-boyfriend a gift. On their way back from shopping, Amy began telling Ronson about the time her family and close friends were on about her drinking. “You know they tried to make me go to rehab and I told them ‘no, no, no.’”
Mark pointed out how the line was “gimmicky” and “hooky.” He then suggested they get into the studio and turn it into a song.
It was to be followed by an album of love songs
In 2006, Amy told The Irish Times that she was ready to make an album of love songs. “It will be a romantic record,” she said. “I am a very romantic person…If it’s raining, I’ll go up to the windows and press my nose against the glass and sigh at how beautiful it all looks.”
Amy never got to make that album—which would have been heaven to our ears, tbh—since she died in 2011.
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We may have been forced to say our goodbyes too early. But at least we’ll always something to hold on to. Back to Black is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Listen to the full album on Spotify with Globe.