Amy, 27 (Paperback)Howard Sounes (author)
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The death of Amy Winehouse at the age of 27 was a tragedy.
She was one of the brightest music stars in years -a brilliant, original song writer with a mighty voice and great personal charm.
Amy was loveable, but troubled. She was as notorious for her messy personal life, drug addiction and alcoholism, as she was celebrated for her songs, and her death in 2011, while shocking, was not unexpected.
Amy was also the latest in a series of iconic music stars who died at the same young age; starting with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones whose death in 1969 was followed by Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in 1970, Jim Morrison in 1971, and Kurt Cobain in 1994. All were gifted. All were dissipated. All were 27.
The 27 Club was first used as a collective term for these lost souls after a comment by Kurt Cobain's mother. 'He's gone and joined that stupid club,' she said after Kurt shot himself. 'I told him not to ...'
In this ground-breaking book, Howard Sounes delivers a detailed and insightful study of Amy Winehouse's life, and sets that life in the context of the 27 Club.
That six big music stars died at 27 -- along with 44 less well-known names -- is on one level a coincidence. But behind this coincidence Sounes reveals is a disturbing common narrative that explains how these artists met their fate, and casts new light on Amy's death in particular.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 292 g
Dimensions: 197 x 130 x 25 mm
Much of the book's power lies in its refusal to pander to the romantic-melancholy notion of the tortured young artist who lives fast and dies young. Instead the squalor and chaos of their everyday existence if exposed in uncompromising detail... This book is not about more rock star mythologizing. It's about skewering the mystery of the 27-connection, by exposing its all-too-tragic reality. * Sunday Times *
Sounes' masterstroke is to unearth forensic levels of detail on his subjects. Jim Morrison's end in a Paris bathtub is well known, but Sounes reveals minutiae explaining the bad luck that caused this unhappy and alcoholic but probably not suicidal man to die when he did... Sounes acknowledges the danger of theorising too heavily on the 27 Club but in the main he has pulled off what could have been a tasteless project with sensitivity. And he's best of all on the subject that clearly fascinates him: the relationship between Amy Winehouse and her father. * The Times *
A meticulously researched corrective that spares none of the often squalid truth and should, if there's any justice, put paid to decades of ill-informed mythologizing.