Back To Black is such a significant album for me on a musical and personal level.
It helped (re)introduce soul music to a new generation and basically soundtracked my life during the mid-late 2000s.
Producer Mark Ronson’s masterstroke was enlisting Sharon Jones’ band The Dap-Kings as the albums engine room.
Combined with his hip hop-informed production aesthetic, the record sounded at once authentically classic but also fresh. And that sound captured the mainstream.
Of course the star of the show is Amy herself. Her tales of booze and drug fuelled Camden anguish, cold water flat melancholy and lost love paint an indelible picture.
Who else could write a lyric like: ‘He left no time to regret, kept his dick wet, with his old same safe bet’? Or ‘And life is like a pipe, and I’m a tiny penny rolling up the wall inside’?
Her voice can be raw, commanding, visceral, fragile and huge at every twist and turn.
It is a voice that is equal parts soul and jazz and a signature sound that has spawned thousands of imitators ever since.
I remember hearing the news of Amy’s death on the BBC World Service in the car on the way home from a gig.
I literally had to pull over as I heard the words. Her passing struck me so deeply that I ended up writing a song for her with my band The Bamboos for our album Medicine Man, called ‘Window’:
~ By Lance Ferguson