Newest gone-too-soon “27 Club” member joins Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison.
Gone-but-not-forgotten musician Amy Winehouse would have been 32 this year, and a new documentary is making sure her legacy stays alive. Released in July, Amy has quickly become the highest grossing British documentary of its kind. BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia dug deep into Winehouse’s life, from her humble beginnings to unseen footage of the real girl behind the big black hair and heavy winged eyeliner. The film, which has earned rave reviews as moving masterpiece, provides a haunting look at the soulful singer who would one day be singing neo-soul hits such as “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good” in stadiums packed with admirers—and who would eventually lash out from the harsh spotlight and mounting pressure.
I often give picks for “must-see” films, usually in the form of a fall movie preview, “hot summer movies,” or even can’t-miss Oscar predictions. But this time, I have all eyes on this one moving documentary that I’m hoping receives its share of accolades. It’s in theaters now – I hope you take my recommendation and look up some movie times.
Some background: Just as Amy’s inner demons provided material for her gritty, beloved music that shot her to fame, the English songstress’s addictions also became her ultimate downfall. She died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at just 27 years old. Ironically, two of the stars she had always been heavily compared to—Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison—also died at 27, their gone-too-soon legacies making up the tragic “27 Club.”
Unlike the music of many peers her age, Amy’s music was raw, cutting, and emotional. It had a heartbreaking edge to it that earned her comparisons to other old-time, iconic musicians with wide-ranging audiences of all ages.
Amy was an old soul whose existing music can be appreciated by multiple generations—especially those yearning for modern twists in the jazz and blues genre. Amy is more than an overnight shooting star; it’s a timeless look at a tragically soulful singer we were lucky to have. This resurgence five years after her death has materialized by touching her mega-fans and striking a chord with potential new fans of every age. Her music makes us reminisce about tiny jazz clubs and cocktail lounges of a simpler time. Those may be vanishing, but Amy Winehouse’s music is forever.