Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was a British singer and songwriter. She is known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues and jazz.
A member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra during her youth, Winehouse signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Management in 2002 and soon recorded a number of songs before signing a publishing deal with EMI. She also formed a working relationship with producer Salaam Remi through these record publishers. Winehouse’s debut album, Frank, was released in 2003. Many of the album’s songs were influenced by jazz and, apart from two covers, were co-written by Winehouse. Frank was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The song “Stronger Than Me” won her the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors.
Winehouse released her follow-up album, Back to Black, in 2006, which went on to become an international success and one of the best-selling albums in UK history. At the 2007 Brit Awards it was nominated for British Album of the Year, and she received the award for British Female Solo Artist. The song “Rehab” won her a second Ivor Novello Award. At the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, she won five awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night and becoming the first British woman to win five Grammys, including three of the General Field “Big Four” Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year (for “Rehab”), as well as Best Pop Vocal Album.
Winehouse was plagued by drug and alcohol addiction. She died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011, at the age of 27. After her death, Back to Black temporarily became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century. VH1 ranked Winehouse 26th on their list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.
Frank is the debut studio album by English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse. It was released on 20 October 2003 by Island Records. Production for the album took place during 2002 to 2003 and was handled by Winehouse, Salaam Remi, Commissioner Gordon, Jimmy Hogarth and Matt Rowe. Its title alludes to the nature and tone of Winehouse’s lyrics on the album, as well as one of her influences, Frank Sinatra.
Upon its release, Frank received generally positive reviews from most music critics and earned Winehouse several accolades, including an Ivor Novello Award. The album has sold over one million copies in the United Kingdom and has been certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
After playing around with her brother’s guitar, Winehouse bought her own when she was 15 and began writing music a year later. Soon after, she began working for a living, including, at one time, as an entertainment journalist for the World Entertainment News Network, in addition to singing with local group the Bolsha Band. In July 2000, she became the featured female vocalist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra; her influences were to include Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, the latter whom she was already listening to at home.
Winehouse’s best friend, soul singer Tyler James, sent her demo tape to an artists and repertoire (A&R) executive. Winehouse signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Management in 2002 and was paid £250 a week against future earnings. While being developed by the management company, she was kept as a recording industry secret, although she was a regular jazz standards singer at the Cobden Club. Her soon-to-be A&R representative at Island Records, Darcus Beese, heard of her by accident when the manager of The Lewinson Brothers showed him some productions of his clients, which featured Winehouse as key vocalist. When he asked who the singer was, the manager told him he was not allowed to say. Having decided that he wanted to sign her, it took several months of asking around for Beese to eventually discover who the singer was. However, Winehouse had already recorded a number of songs and signed a publishing deal with EMI by this time. She formed a working relationship with producer Salaam Remi through these record publishers.
Beese introduced Winehouse to his boss, Nick Gatfield, and the Island head shared his enthusiasm in signing her. Winehouse was signed to Island, as rival interest in Winehouse had started to build to include representatives of EMI and Virgin starting to make moves. Beese told HitQuarters that he felt the reason behind the excitement, over an artist who was an atypical pop star for the time, was due to a backlash against reality TV music shows, which included audiences starved for fresh, genuine young talent.
In a 2004 interview with The Observer, Winehouse expressed dissatisfaction with the album, stating:
Some things on this album make me go to a little place that’s fucking bitter. I’ve never heard the album from start to finish. I don’t have it in my house. Well, the marketing was fucked, the promotion was terrible. Everything was a shambles. It’s frustrating, because you work with so many idiots—but they’re nice idiots. So you can’t be like, “You’re an idiot.” They know that they’re idiots.
In the liner notes for Winehouse’s 2011 album Lioness: Hidden Treasures, producer Salaam Remi wrote about the track “Half Time”, an outtake from the recording sessions for Frank, and revealed that Frank’s title refers partly to Frank Sinatra, an early influence on Winehouse.
Frank was first released in the United Kingdom on 20 October 2003 through Island Records. In 2004, the album was released to European countries, including Poland and Germany, as well as being released in Canada through Universal Music Group. In 2007 the album was released once again to Australia in March and the United States in November, with the latter being released via Universal Republic Records.
In 2008, the album was re-released as a deluxe edition, including an 18-track bonus disc of rare tracks, remixes, B-sides and live performances. It was first released in Germany on 9 May 2008, followed by its release in the United Kingdom on 12 May 2008 through Island Records. Over May, June and July the album was released in Australia, Canada, United States and Japan.
Following the release of the critically acclaimed documentary film about Winehouse, Amy (2015), Frank was reissued on vinyl on 31 July 2015 by Republic Records.
Frank received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 78, based on 11 reviews. AllMusic’s John Bush called Winehouse “an excellent vocalist possessing both power and subtlety”. Nate Chinen of The New York Times complimented her original lyrics and called the music a “glossy admixture of breezy funk, dub and jazz-inflected soul”. The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin commended its loose, organic songcraft and wrote that it “features languid, wide-open neo-soul grooves and jazzy vamping”. Beccy Lindon of The Guardian described Winehouse’s sound as “somewhere between Nina Simone and Erykah Badu … at once innocent and sleazy”. Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Willman found its musical style reminiscent of Sade. MusicOMH’s John Murphy said that her lyrics are “commendably feisty and, as the album title suggests, frank”. Dan Cairns of The Times called Frank “a staggeringly assured, sit-up-and-listen debut, both commercial and eclectic, accessible and uncompromising”. Robert Christgau, writing for MSN Music, was less enthusiastic and graded the album a “dud”, indicating “a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought.”
Winehouse was nominated for British Female Solo Artist and British Urban Act at the 2004 BRIT Awards, while Frank was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize that same year.The album earned Winehouse an Ivor Novello Award. In retrospective reviews for both Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, critic Douglas Wolk was ambivalent towards Winehouse’s themes and felt that they are relevant to her public image at the time, writing in the former review, “in the light of her subsequent career, Frank comes off as the first chapter in the Romantic myth of the poet who feels too deeply and ends up killing herself for her audience’s entertainment”. By contrast, PopMatters writer Mike Joseph felt that the album shows that Winehouse’s success is “based on pure talent rather than good producers or gimmicks”. The Washington Post’s Bill Friskics-Warren noted most of its content as “sultry ballads and shambling neo-soul jams”, while writing that it “more than confirms what the fuss over Winehouse – then just 19 and with a lot fewer tattoos – was originally all about… her attitude and command were already there. And then some”. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2019, the album was ranked 57th on The Guardian’s 100 Best Albums of the 21st Century list.
Frank entered the UK Albums Chart at number 60 before climbing to number 13 in late January 2004. Following Winehouse’s death on 23 July 2011, the album re-entered the UK chart at number five, before reaching a new peak position of number three the following week, with 19,811 copies sold. The album was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 19 December 2008, and had sold over one million copies as of September 2014.
Front + backcover (Deluxe Edition):
Frank debuted at number 61 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, selling 22,000 copies in its opening week. In the wake of Winehouse’s death, the album sold 8,000 copies to re-enter the chart at number 57 on the issue dated 6 August 2011. The following week, it rose to a new peak of number 33 with sales of 12,000 copies. The album had sold 315,000 copies in the US by July 2011.
Elsewhere, the album charted inside the top five in Austria and Poland, and the top 10 in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal. In late 2011, Frank was certified double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for sales in excess of two million copies across Europe. (wikipedia)
And Amy Winehouse was accompanied by 21st Century Jazz.
But I find CD 2 (with demos and live recording) much better than that Her voice comes out much stronger on it.
John Adams (keyboards)
Robert Aaron (flute, saxophone)
Teodross Avery (saxophone)
Ian Barter (guitar)
Rudy Bird (percussion)
Errol Campbell (drums, percussion)
Wilburn “Squiddley” Cole (drums)
Commissioner Gordon (drums, effects, percussion, programming)
Delroy “Chris” Cooper (bass)
Tanya Darby (trumpet)
Vincent Henry (flute, saxophone)
Jimmy Hogarth (bass, drums, guitar, mixing, percussion, programming)
Stafford Hunter (trombone)
Timothy Hutton (horn)
Donovan Jackson (keyboards)
Gregory Jackson (bass)
Bruce Purse (horn,trumpet, flugelhorn)
Salaam Remi (drum programming, drums, bass, organ, percussion)
Matt Rowe (trumpet, background vocals)
Jeremy Shaw (guitar)
Stefan Skarbek (trumpet, background vocals)
Martin Slattery (organ, horn, wurlitzer)
Earl “Chinna” Smith (guitar)
Luke Smith (bass, keyboards)
Lenny Underwood (keyboards)
Richard Wilkinson (drums)
Troy Wilson (drums)
Amy Winehouse (vocals, guitar)
Jeni Fujita – Felix Howard
01. Intro / Stronger Than Me (Winehouse/Remi) 3.54
02. You Sent Me Flying / Cherry (Winehouse/Howard/Remi) 6.51
03. Know You Now (Winehouse/Williams/Smith/Cooper/Campbell/Jackson) 3.03
04. Fuck Me Pumps (Winehouse/Remi) 3.21
05. I Heard Love Is Blind (Winehouse/Remi) 2.10
06. Moody’s Mood For Love/ Teo Licks (McHugh/Fields/Moody/Winehouse) 3.29
07. (There Is) No Greater Love (Jones/Symes) 2.09
08. In My Bed (Winehouse/Remi) 5.17
09. Take The Box (Winehouse/Smith) 3.20
10. October Song (Winehouse/Rowe/Skarbek) 3.25
11. What Is It About Men (WinehouseHoward/WatsonL.Smith/Williams/E.Smith/ Wilbur/Cole/Cooper/Jackson) 3.30
12. Help Yourself (Winehouse/Hogarth) 5.01
13. Amy Amy Amy / Outro / Brother (hidden track) / Mr Magic (Through the Smoke) (hidden track) (Winehouse/Rowe/Skarbek/Remi/Avery/Jackson/Campbell/Williams/MacDonald/ Salter) 13.17.
01. Take the Box (original demo) (Winehouse/L.Smith) 3.24
02.You Sent Me Flying (original demo) (Winehouse/Howard) 5.38
03. I Heard Love Is Blind (original demo) (Winehouse) 2.12
04. Someone To Watch Over Me (original demo) (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 4.28
05. What It Is (original demo) (Winehouse) 4.44
06. Teach Me Tonight (live at the Hootenanny, London 2004) (Cahn/de Paul) 3.22
07. ‘Round Midnight (sinle B-side) (Hanighen/Monk/Williams) 3.48
08. Fool’s Gold (single B-side) (Winehouse/Remi) 3.39
09. Stronger Than Me (Later With Jools Holland, London 2003) (Winehouse/Remi) 3.52
10. I Heard Love Is Blind (live at The Concorde, Brighton) (Winehouse) 2.28
11. Take The Box (live at The Concorde, Brighton) (Winehouse/L.Smith) 3.323
12. In My Bed (live at The Concorde, Brighton) (Winehouse/Remi) 5.36
13. Mr Magic (Through The Smoke) (live, Janice Long Session, Miami 2008) (Winehouse/ MacDonald/Salter) 4.04
14. (There Is) No Greater Love (live, Janice Long Session, Miami 2008) (Jones/Symes) 2.37
15. Fuck Me Pumps (MJ Cole Mix) (Winehouse/Remi) 5.53
16. Take The Box (Seiji’s Buggin’ Mix) (Winehouse/L.Smith) 7.47
17. Stronger Than Me (Harmonic 33 Mix) (Winehouse/Remi) 3.42
18. In My Bed (CJ Mix) (Winehouse/Remi) 4.35
The official website of the Amy Winehouse Foundation: