Ronnie Spector Weighs In on Amy Winehouse Death, Premieres "Back to Black" Cover
Published Jul 27, 2011From M.I.A. to U2 and Lady Gaga, a heartbroken music community has been pretty vocal with their tributes to fallen soul singer Amy Winehouse, who died of unknown causes last Saturday (July 23). The latest musician to join the conversation is famed '60s girl-group singer Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes, with the vocalist planning a charity single in Winehouse's honour.
"I haven't been this sad in a long time, about anyone in this business. I tried to go grocery shopping for my family, and I was walking like a ghost in the aisles. I could think about nobody but Amy," Spector told Rolling Stone. "When I saw her two weeks ago on TV and she was all drugged out, drinking and stuff, I said, 'Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it! Don't become like I was 20 years ago! I cleaned up. You gotta clean up!' And two weeks later, she's dead. I'm devastated."
The influential vocalist further weighed in on Winehouse's demise, telling Rolling Stone that she saw part of herself in the troubled younger performer.
"Every time I looked at her, it was like I was looking at myself. She had my beehive, my eyeliner, my attitude. She had such a great soul in her voice and her lyrics were so amazing that I couldn't help but sing one of her songs. I was so happy to see an artist like Amy, because she reminded me of my youth. And she loved girl groups. Damn it! I thought she would carry on."
Regrettably, Spector continued to say that the similarities didn't stop at their singing styles and hairdos, pointing to her own problems with drugs and alcohol.
"When I was in my 20s, I was a lost girl -- drinking, not knowing what to do or where to go. I never did drugs -- like, 'No way, you're not gonna put a needle in my arm!' -- but drinking is just as bad," she said. "You can't go around people who drink or do drugs, even family members. I learned that 20 years ago in A.A. I had two boys, and, when they were four and five, we moved to Connecticut. In New York, there were liquor stores on every other corner, and I didn't need that. I knew enough to leave that. Now I don't drink. I don't do anything but my shows and take care of my kids."
Spector had been covering Winehouse's "Back to Black" in concert and even recorded a version of the tune a couple years back, and has decided to release her interpretation of the track as a charity single. All proceeds will go to Daytop Village substance abuse centres.
The single drops August 2, but you can stream the studio cut here.
The '60s singer is glad to know that Winehouse got to enjoy her reinterpretation at least once.
"Amy came to my show in London about six months ago, and she was so shy," she remembers. "She was hiding behind somebody, but I could see the hairstyle, and I knew she was there. That was all I needed. When I sang 'Back to Black,' I could see the tears in her eyes, and there were tears in mine."