Chasing Amy: Stars Pay Tribute to Amy Winehouse

Posted July 27, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

In more ways than one, Hollywood and the music world paid their respects to five-time Grammy winner and UK soul singer Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27 on Saturday in her London home.

Actor/comedian Russell Brand, a former heroin addict and recovering alcoholic, was hit very hard by the news and called her a good friend. He posted a heartfelt message on his website, dealing with the heavy loss and the cruel love affair the media has with tragedy. “Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death,” Brand said. “Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s [Cobian] or Jimi‘s [Hendrix] or Janis‘s [Joplin], some people just get the affliction.”

Twitter tributes were also in heavy rotation after the news broke on Winehouse’s passing.

Lily Allen (@lilyallen): “It’s just beyond sad. There’s nothing else to say. She was such a lost soul. May she rest in peace.”

Lady Gaga (@ladygaga): “Amy changed pop music forever. I remember knowing there was hope, and feeling not alone because of her. She lived jazz, she lived the blues.”

Rihanna (@rihanna): “Dear God have mercy! I am sick about this right now! I am genuinely heartbroken about this.”

Mark Ronson (@iamMarkRonson): “She was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me. “This is one of the saddest days of my life.”

Demi Lovato (@ddlovato): “So sad. Unfortunately the world lost an incredibly talented woman to such a powerful disease: addiction. RIP.”

Jay Sean (@jaysean): “just heard the shocking news of Amy winehouse’s death. Absolutely tragic. Such a talented artist. So sad.”

Rob Thomas (@thisisrobthomas): “so many people saying that because it’s not a surprise that amy winehouse passed, it’s not sad. i hope you have more compassion for friends.”

Kelly Osbourne (@MissKellyO): “i cant even breath right my now i’m crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!”

Mary J. Blige (@maryjblige): “Rest in peace Amy Wine House. I hope the after life brings u the piece u were searching 4 on earth. Love MJB”

Usher (@UsherRaymondIV): “I’m so sad to hear the horrible news of Amy Winehouse’s death. I’m so happy I knew you Amy. Rest well. Gone too soon. We’ll miss you!”

Demi Moore (@mrskutcher): “Truly sad news about Amy Winehouse. My heart goes out to her family. May her troubled soul find peace.”

Billy Corgan (@billy): “Sad to hear about Amy Winehouse. I mourn any time one of our own passes on. A tragedy, no doubt. Truly sad.”

Josh Groban (@joshgroban): “Drugs took her gift, her soul her light, long before they took her life. RIP Amy.”

Drew Lachey (@thedrewlachey): “I just heard about Amy Winehouse. Why is it that some of the most talented people seem to have the most demons? She’ll be missed.”

Jessica Alba (@jessicaalba): “So sad about Amy Winehouse — she was so talented. Really tragic.”

Ricky Martin (@rickymartin): “I just found out. I feel pain. I feel anger. Rest beautiful girl rest. You are free! RIP Amy.”

Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ): “Please tell me Amy Winehouse didn’t die. Is this some sick joke?”

Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian): “I just heard the news that Amy Winehouse passed away. What a true talent. I pray she’s in a better place and at peace.”

The hip-hop community has gone the extra mile to feature digital songs online in tribute, specifically paying tribute to Winehouse. Big Boi uses his Organized Sound skills to  remix “Tears Dry On Their Own.” Big Boi (@BigBoi)was one of the first celebrities to react to Winehouse’s unfrotunate passing. “Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrixand now Amy Winehouse. All died aged 27. RIP to you all #amywinehouse,” he wrote. Brit rapper MIA was also hard at work in developing a musical tribute to her UK neighbor. “I recorded this song…and never put it out,” M.I.A. (@_M_I_A_tweeted Saturday night, posting a link to the song. “Its a unfinished demo. R.I.P A.M.Y.” The song is entitled “27,” referencing Winehouse’s age at the time of her death. (Individual songs by Big Boi and M.I.A. have been posted below)

Amy Winehouse – “Tears Dry on their Own” (Organized Noize Dungeon Family Remix) by Big Boi

27 by _M_I_A_
In Minneapolis, MN this past Saturday (the day of Winehouse’s death), Bono, The Edge and the rest of U2dedicated their 2001 single “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” to Winehouse while on the band’s successful 360° tour. A full version of the live tribute was posted online (see video above).

While much of the music world showed their respects to the legacy of  Winehouse, some decided to poke a little humor into the conversation. R&B singer Keri Hilson (@MissKeriBaby), who tweeted a very inappropriate message with an enclosed picture of a fan who she claims resembled the fallen star.

The tweet read:

“*gasp* Amy Winehouse resurrected to party w/me!!! (seriously, uncanny resemblance).”

Immediately Hilson’s followers were upset about her post and went on the defense for Winehouse. One of Hilson’s followers commented, “How stupid could @MissKeriBaby b???? If u weren’t weak b4…. Ur definitely THE WEAKEST NOW!!!!!! Not funny honey.” Another of Hilson’s follower posted, “You Need To Resurrect Yo Career Hoe!”

Hilson tried to apologize for the insensitive comment, but seemed to rationalize some excuse for the joke gone wrong. “Come on, I mean no harm,” she stated. “All due respect. But really the resemblance freaked me out. This was simply the best tribute ever.”

In a separate tweet, Hilson posted: “I apologize 2 anyone who might’ve taken it the wrong way. As a fan, I thought it was cool that she dressed up to honor Amy. I had no ill intent, but I understand how it appears insensitive…my bad twitterville.”

CCM/urban contemporary gospel artist Israel Houghton (@israelnewbreed) also added insult to injury by asserting the singer had no chance of escaping an early death. “Sad to hear about Amy Winehouse. Wonder if she really ever had a fighting chance sometimes… Just seemed inevitable…ya know?” The Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter isn’t a stranger to insensitive commentary. He’s highlighted attacks on abortion and homophobic lyrics on albums like A Deeper Level, in which garnered heavy criticism from and The Associated Press.

Seems like Houghton should have taken a page out of Kirk Franklin‘s (@kirkfranklin) Tweetbook. The gospel superstar, best known for his crossover hits like “Stomp,” “Lean On Me” and his most recent radio single “I Smile,” said, “I know a few people in my world may have never heard of Amy Winehouse, but the girl’s vocals were incredible. and Etta young Aretha.” He followed up his tweet by saying: “It’s sad her biggest hit was about her problem.. words are so powerful man. my sister has the same struggle. just pray.”

In other Winehouse news, sale spikes were reported to be heavy on the cusp of Winehouse’s passing. Nielsen SoundScan reported that 50,000 copies of her CDs were sold in the week ending on July 24, compared to 44,000 units that were purchased in all other weeks of 2011. Her 2006 smash hit album, Back to Black, which includes the her most remembered song “Rehab,” accounted for 37,000 of those units sold in the U.S. Winehouse’s debut album, 2003’s Frank, chalked up 7,600 unit sales. Of the totals, more than 95 percent were digital downloads.

A private funeral for family and close friends was held on Tuesday. Kelly Osbourne, close friend of Winehouse, sporting a blonde beehive hair-do, appeared to be quite emotional and teary-eyed at the memorial service.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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