Amy Jade Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soil, rhythm, blues and jazz. Winehouse’s debut album, “Frank,” was a critical success in the U.K. and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Take a look below for 33 more strange and interesting facts about Amy Winehouse.
1. Her follow-up album, “Back to Black,” led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made her the first British woman to win five Grammy’s, including three of the General Field “Big Four” Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
2. Winehouse won three Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
3. She won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female Artist, having been nominated for Best British Album, with “Back to Black.”
4. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, at the age of 27.
5. Her album “Back to Black” posthumously became, for a time, the U.K.’s best selling album of the 21st century. It is also listed as one of the best-selling albums in U.K. chart history.
6. Winehouse was born in Chase Farm Hospital, in north London, to Jewish parents.
7. Her father, Mitchell “Mitch” Winehouse, was a window panel installer and then a taxi driver. Her mother, Janis Winehouse, was a pharmacist.
8. Winehouse’s ancestors were Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish immigrants to London.
9. She had an older brother, Alex, and the family lived in London’s Southgate area, where she attended Osidge Primary School.
10. Winehouse, as a child, attended a Jewish Sunday school.
11. After she rose to fame, during an interview she expressed her dismissal towards the school by saying that she used to beg her father to allow her not to go and that she learned nothing about being Jewish by going anyway.
12. In the same interview, Winehouse said she only went to a synagogue once a year on Yom Kippur “out of respect.”
13. Many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians.
14. Her paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer and dated the English jazz saxophonist Ronnie Scott. She and Amy’s parents influenced Amy’s interest in jazz.
15. Her father, Mitch, often sang Frank Sinatra songs to her, and whenever she got chastised at school, she would sing “Fly Me to the Moon” before going to the headmistress to be told off.
16. Winehouse’s parents separated when she was nine years old, and she lived with her mother and stayed with her father and his girlfriend in Hatfield Heath, Essex, on weekends.
17. In 1992, her grandmother Cynthia suggested that Amy attend the Susi Earnshaw Theater School, where she went on Saturdays to further her vocal education and to learn to tap dance.
18. In 2012, Winehouse was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires.
19. She attended the school for four years and founded a short lived rap group called Sweet ‘n’ Sour, with Juliette Ashby, her childhood friend, before seeking full time training at Sylvia Young Theater School.
20. Winehouse was allegedly expelled at 14 for “not applying herself” and also for piercing her nose.
21. She appeared in an episode of “The Fast Show,” 1997, with other children from the Sylvia Young School and later attended the Mount School, Mill Hill; the BRIT School in Selhurst, Croydon; Osidge JMI School and then Ashmole School.
22. Winehouse’s greatest love was 1960s girl groups.
23. Her stylist, Alex Foden, borrowed her “instantly recognizable” beehive hairdo and she borrowed her Cleopatra makeup from The Ronettes.
24. Her imitation was so successful, as The Village Voice reports: “Ronnie Spector – who, it could be argued, all but invented Winehouse’s style in the first place when she took the stage at the Brooklyn Fox Theater with her fellow Ronettes more than 40 years ago – was so taken aback at a picture of Winehouse in the New York Post that she exclaimed, “I don’t know her, I never met her, and when I saw that pic, I thought ‘That’s me!’ But then I found out, no, it’s Amy! I didn’t have on my glasses.”
25. Mitch Winehouse later revealed that the influence for the bold red lipstick, thick eyebrows and heavy eyeliner came from Latinas she saw in Miami, on her trip there to work with Salaam Remi on “Back to Black.”
26. Winehouse was ranked number two on Richard Blackwell’s 48th annual “Ten Worst Dressed Women” list, behind Victoria Beckham.
27. By 2008, her continued drug problems threatened her career.
28. In January, 2008, her record label stated that it believed the extensive media coverage she had received increased record sales.
29. Throughout her life, Winehouse donated her money, music and time to many charities, particularly those concerned with children.
30. She was once named “the most charitable act” by Pop World.
31. While her charitable side was never well known to the general public, throughout both the arts community and the charity community she was known for her generosity.
32. In 2008, Winehouse appeared naked in an issue of Easy Living Magazine to raise awareness of breast cancer.
33. In 2012, it was revealed that she had paid for the medical tests for a man called Julian Jean DeBaptiste in Saint Lucia in 2009. He said, “I had surgery on July 1, 2009. It cost a fortune and Amy paid for the whole thing. I tried to thank her but she just hugged me and told me not to say anything. Her generosity gave me my life back.”