Not long after lamenting the lack of Amy Winehouse covers, along comes Ronnie Spector, putting her spin on “Back To Black.”
It’s fitting that Spector has recorded one of Winehouse’s songs, as the late singer-songwriter was obviously inspired by rock and roll’s original bad girl. There was the iconic fashion, of course — the beehive hairdo, heavy black mascara, and hiked-up skirts — but the music too, which echoed the girl-group era while updating it all the same. Winehouse even sang the chorus of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” on Mutya Buena’s 2008 update.
Devastated by Winehouse’s death on July 23 at age 27, Spector confessed to Rolling Stone, “I haven’t been this sad in a long time, about anyone in this business.”
“Every time I looked at her, it was like I was looking at myself. She had my beehive, my eyeliner, my attitude. She had such a great soul in her voice and her lyrics were so amazing that I couldn’t help but sing one of her songs. I was so happy to see an artist like Amy, because she reminded me of my youth. And she loved girl groups. Damn it! I thought she would carry on.”
“Back To Black” has been a staple of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s live performances for some time now. Only six months ago, Winehouse attended one of Spector’s concerts and got to hear her hero sing her song. “I could see the tears in her eyes, and there were tears in mine,” Spector recalls.
A couple of years back, Spector recorded a studio version of “Back To Black” with producer Richard Gotteher (The Go-Go’s, Blondie, Dum Dum Girls) and hip-hop producer Phenom. Rather than copying the ’60s-style sound of the original, the cover jumps a decade, with Spector’s infamous vibrato riding a disco vibe. On the occasion of Winehouse’s death, Spector decided to release her take on “Back To Black” as a tribute to Winehouse, with proceeds going to Daytop Village substance abuse treatment centers. Hear here:
Purchase Ronnie Spector – “Back To Black” (Amy Winehouse cover) via iTunes.