When Jimi, Janis and Jim OD’d at 27 I thought, “Too bad” but didn’t wail over the loss like many of my friends. Amy Winehouse’s death of a likely drug overdose has stopped me in my tracks. This one has made me cry. For her parents, for such a waste of spectacular talent, for the stupidity of youth and the utter blindness to consequence.
My daughter and I have a multi-layered relationship with Amy Winehouse. Emma introduced me to her music and to Lily Allen’s and Regina Spektor’s. Their songs are the soundtrack of those come-and-go college years. Emma and I would listen to the vocalists’ latest as we drove around town, talking, trading tales, resting in comfortable silence or singing along. Many times after she returned to college, I would find a new CD on the passenger seat. I’d pop it into the CD player, conjuring my daughter and our shared rocking out, as I sang.
Another layer to the Winehouse relationship is that Emma has often been mistaken for her, and none too kindly. The resemblance pretty much stops at the long black hair and lean frame, but it didn’t stop the singer’s detractors from calling out cruel barbs at the Amy look-alike across the subway platform or on a Soho street. More than being unnerved, Emma felt sorry for Winehouse; she was outraged that perfect strangers thought they had the right to mock the singer’s revolving door rehab.
I feel my daughter’s sorrow and rue the reality that a talented artist whom she admires and whose music is forever woven into her formative young adult years, has come to such a sad end. Emma and I now share one last detail where Amy Winehouse is concerned – regret for this unnecessary waste of a promising life.
And now two more parents have to bury a bright, bold and talented daughter. Two more parents left with a lifetime of “If only” and “Why?” The New York Times quoted a Josh Groban Tweet: “Drugs took her gift, her soul, her light, long before they took her life…”
But drugs didn’t take Amy’s gift or soul or light. Amy Winehouse took drugs. And maybe that’s why, this time around, there are tears. Not simply for Amy Winehouse, but for the parents who brought her into this world and watched as their beloved daughter ignited the music world only to burn out — one more drug-eclipsed star.