Amy Winehouse and Other Musical Meltdowns

News of the recent public breakdown Amy Winehouse at a recent European show cannot of shocked anybody.  There was however a certain element of surprise given the recent positivity surrounding her and a successful comeback gig in London ahead of her European tour.  The vision of her stumbling and mumbling incoherently to the audience may have caused irreparable damage to both her public profile and her confidence.  On top of this, Amy has now agreed with her management team that her European tour should now be scrapped, which could be seen as a private omission that Amy continues to be tormented by her demons.

Photo of Amy Winehouse

Amy started off so well in her career winning industry acclaim in the size of the highly coveted Mercury Music Prize in 2003 for her debut album ‘Frank’.  She went on to follow up with huge mainstream success with her second album ‘Back to Black’ which turned her in to an almost iconic figure of British music.  ‘Back to Black’ won Grammys galore.  This rise and the way it came about reminds us of the ripples a certain Jessie J is currently making.

Unfortunately, Camden girl Amy, seemed to get distracted very easily.  Whilst she wasn’t a traditional out of control Z-list celebrity she did suffer from rather public meltdowns.  Rather than being snapped in regular celeb haunts, she was often papped outside Camden nightspots drunk and allegedly under the influence of other substances.

Added to this the fact that her turbulent relationship with jailed Blake Fielder-Civil also hit the news and his antics became as synonymous with Amy’s career as her own she began her public decline.

What has never ben in question is Amy’s talent.  She has a distinctive style that many have attempted to copy (remember one year X Factor was dominated by Amy wannabees), accompanied by some great production.  Basically Amy could take any track which would sound good normally and turn it in to something completely different, add the Amy element and a good record would turn great.

The most potent example of this was her cover of Valerie with Mark Ronson.   The original Zutons track was a great tune and sold loads of copies.  The original was already somewhat anthemic.  Ronson and Winehouse gave it their flavour and people almost instantly forgot about the original.  This was so evident that people used to text the Chris Moyles show when the original was played and asked why they played the horrible cover of the Amy Winehouse track.

The public have waited a long time for the return of what was once one of our most promising talents.  Patience and interest may finally be running out.

Amy isn’t alone though, here are some of the other top music meltdowns

  1. Pete Doherty – Pete is a little less mainstream than Amy.  His high-profile relationship and noted bad influence on Kate Moss ensured the Baby Shambles front man was headline news.  His numerous occassions of flirting with the law due to drugs, alcohol and violence became boring.  He was finally sentenced to a proper stay in prison
  2. Charlie Haddon – Ou Est La Swimming Pool front man was no where near as famous as some of the others in this list.  Yet the troubled Charlie committed suicide after falling from a Pylon at a festival last year.  It was a tragic end for a great talent with the world in front of him.
  3. George Michael – Whilst his exploits have been potentially less serious than some of the others on this list, his profile makes him worthy of a place.  From improper conduct with others on Hampstead Heath to repeatedly falling asleep at the wheel of his car and driving in to Snappy Snaps.
  4. Boy George – Boy George was the face of 80s super group Culture Club.  Largely famous due to the shock of him wearing feminine clothes and wearing make-up, George’s breakdowns have been very public.  Now a serial community service worker due to his misdemeanours, George can also be found DJing.
  5. Michael Jackson – Probably deserving of a higher place.  We put MJ in 5th for two reasons, his legend status but also because his was less about self-inflicted addictions as opposed to deep-routed psychological issues.

2 thoughts on “Amy Winehouse and Other Musical Meltdowns

  1. I think Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane/Strarship fame got very drunk at a show in Germany and started shouting things out such as “Who won the war?!”. Did not go down well.

    Other musical meltdowns I can think of are Brian Wilson and Jerry Lee Lewis. Although they were brought on by entirely different things.

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