Read

Rear View Mirror: Amy Winehouse's Tragic Signature Song, 'Rehab'

In July of 2011, Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning. Many around her thought she had a problem several years before and encouraged her to get help. Her refusal spawned her signature song.
Amy Winehouse performs during the 46664 concert in celebration of Nelson Mandela's life at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England. (Dan Kitwood)

Every week, Rich Terfry looks back in our Rear-view Mirror at a great song from the good ol' days. This week: the story behind Amy Winehouse's "Rehab".

In July of 2011, Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning. Many around her thought she had a problem several years before and encouraged her to get help. Her refusal spawned her signature song.

When Winehouse's management team tried to persuade her to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program, she went to her father for a second opinion. She explained that her main problem was that she was lovesick, and that there was no rehab program for that. Her father agreed and she fired the management team. Shortly after this episode, she explained it to her friend and producer Mark Ronson, as they were out for a walk in New York City.

Winehouse said to Ronson, "They tried to make me go to rehab but I said, 'no, no, no.'" Ronson was concerned as a friend, but as a producer, he heard music. He turned to Winehouse and said they needed to get back to the studio right away.

In the lyrics of the song, Winehouse says she'd "rather be at home with Ray" and that "there's nothing you can teach me that I can't learn from Mr. Hathaway," referring to singers Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway, suggesting that all she needed to feel better was the music that she loved.

The song was an instant hit, was critically acclaimed and hugely successful. The song also earned Winehouse three Grammy Awards in 2008.

Three years later, she was gone.

A more tragic signature song there never was. "Rehab," by the late Amy Winehouse.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now