Friday, July 17, 2015


I never had the chance to see Nirvana before Kurt died - nor did I catch Blind Melon while Shannon Hoon was still alive.  I did however see Amy Winehouse the very first time she performed here in Toronto at The Top of the Senator in June 2004.

It was at an industry showcase for the recently released album 'Frank' that I sat front row to take photos for Universal Music's website.
*Actual photo from that first night - just not mine.  I can't find mine.
The music world was unclear where this young jewish cockney jazz singer fit in.  She was like nothing else at the time and so this showcase at a downtown Jazz club was the first attempt to see who might be interested.  I remember thinking that her band was insanely good.  The drummer was like nothing I'd watched on stage before.  He was so smooth and on point while working with Amy to bring out the soul.  He would wait to see where she was going and follow - then she'd look at him and he'd lead the way.  I also recall thinking that she was very pretty and looked a lot like Gina Gershon.

The next time I saw Amy Winehouse was when she came back through Toronto in support of 'Back to Black'.  I was now working at MTV and she came by to be on our then flagship show MTV Live.  She then headed down the road to be on MuchMusic's flagship show M.O.D. where she actually went missing from her dressing room.  The producers of the show were about to have Dallas Green come on to perform in her stead.  She had decided to take stroll down Queen Street - but finally made it back to play a quick song as seen here.  From there she went to perform in the amazing Orange Lounge Studios. She capped that day off by playing the MOD Club later that evening as seen here.

I've just come from the movies where I saw the new documentary about her life.  It's heartbreaking, eye opening and down right sad all at the same time.  My single favourite moment was the footage of her watching the Grammy Awards live while in London.  It was real.  It was raw and so very genuine.  Her short life was overshadowed by drugs and torment - but her music will be remembered and stand the test of time.  This is a really great documentary and I recommend you see it.

Here's a best of playlist I've made to remember the late great Amy Winehouse

Thanks for reading/listening.


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