In Memoriam: Amy Winehouse

There are few celebrity deaths that have really made me sad in recent years. Sure, there are some that I thought were greater losses than others. The loss of actor Pete Postlethwaite this year was a bigger loss than Michael Jackson in my opinion (not to say Jackson’s death was not sad as well). The loss of Amy Winehouse this week hit me harder than I expected. I did expected to one day pull up my news homepage and see the headline “Amy Winehouse found dead”, but as with most deaths I did not expect it now and so sudden.

For those unfamiliar with who Ms. Winehouse was outside of Jay Leno’s jokes, she was a gifted English Jazz singer-songwriter who rose to critical and social acclaim for her soulful voice. I hope you realize what a feat this is. How many successful modern-day Jazz musician do you know or is on the radio?

Here in America her album Frank is lesser known than her Grammy-winning album Back to black but is just as soulful and wonderful. And that is it. She released only two full-length albums. Collectively twenty-two songs. And then she is gone.

Now we have people callously welcoming her into the “Twenty-seven Club” as if it is some great accomplishment to have died at the age of Twenty-seven. Do you think if given the chance Amy would have wanted to live past twenty-seven instead of dying in her Camden home? Do you think that she would want to have her draped body being wheeled-out by coroners into the streets of London while hundreds of Paparazzi and news agencies filmed it? Or Jimi, janis, Jim, and Kurt for that matter. For a group of people who mourn death in such a sad way, we sure get a morbid gratification from it.

In the midst of this tragedy, I hope one thing will come to light: that addicts are sick, not criminals. Throwing an addict in jail doesn’t cure them, it just briefly hinders their search for their pain-releasing substance. The solution is rehabilitation. And I don’t mean a twenty-eight day hug fest that sends the sick back into their old environments. That doesn’t work. I mean a program that last the rest of their life time and keeps them in check.

But like many things, this issue will go on unnoticed. Later on tonight Mr. Leno will step back on stage in an ill-fitting suit and will read off some joke that his writers wrote about Amy and the audience will chuckle. In the weeks that follow she will be forgotten by the very people who used to stalk her for a photograph because they will be too busy snapping a pic of Daniel Craig having dinner. Occasionally one of her song will come on the radio. Life moves on.

Goodbye sweet Amy. You truly did leave too soon.

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